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Signs & Symptoms of Food Poisoning From Peanut Butter

author image Megan Smith
Megan Smith has been a freelance writer and editor since 2006. She writes about health, fitness, travel, beauty and grooming topics for various print and Internet publications. Smith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing from New York University.
Signs & Symptoms of Food Poisoning From Peanut Butter
How dangerous is food poisoning from peanut butter? Photo Credit Magone/iStock/Getty Images


Peanut butter can get contaminated with bacteria if it has been improperly manufactured, stored or shipped. Peanut butter that has been contaminated may cause a salmonella infection that can affect children and adults of all ages. If your symptoms are particularly severe or you are unable to hold food down for more than a few hours, consult your doctor.


The first sign of salmonella poisoning may be diarrhea and abdominal cramping within the first 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated peanut butter, says MayoClinic.com. Salmonella lives and reproduces in the intestinal tract, and can only be expelled from the body through fecal matter. Taking antidiarrheal medications may relieve abdominal cramping and reduce diarrhea, but it will also increase the amount of time that salmonella stays in the body. Although diarrhea may be uncomfortable and inconvenient, it's your body's natural method of evacuating the salmonella from your body.

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Nausea and Vomiting

In some cases, nausea and vomiting may accompany diarrhea and abdominal cramping, says MayoClinic.com. Persistent vomiting, especially when paired with diarrhea, may cause dehydration because the body can't replace the fluids it is losing quickly enough. Signs of dehydration include dark sunken-in eyes, a dry tongue, a limited production of tears, and a dry tongue and mouth. Drink fluids that contain electrolytes to rehydrate yourself after vomiting. If you are unable to hold down liquids for more than a few hours, consult a doctor. Additionally, consult a doctor if you notice blood in your vomit.


A fever may begin between 12 and 72 hours after eating contaminated peanut butter, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In particularly severe cases of salmonella poisoning, the disease will spread to the bloodstream. Consult a doctor if you have a fever over 102 degrees F, because it may be a sign that the infection has reached the bloodstream. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to kill the salmonella in the bloodstream and help the body recover from the illness.

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