Food Poisoning Causes, Symptoms, Risk and Treatment

Food poisoning happens when you have food or water that is contaminated with parasites, bacteria, or toxins produced by these germs. Staphylococcus and E. coli are the common bacteria that cause food poisoning. Food poisoning can affect anyone and everyone who eats contaminated food. Food can be contaminated in many ways.

Food Poisoning Causes:

• Food prepared unhygienically at restaurants or even homes:
• Prepared by someone who does not wash their hands properly.
• Cooking utensils, cutting boards, and other tools used are not fully clean.
• Frozen foods that are not stored at the right temperature or are not reheated properly.
• Raw meat or fish.
• Fruits or vegetables that have not been cleaned properly.
• Unpasteurised dairy products.
• Undercooked meats or eggs.
• Unclean water from river, well or tap water that has not been treated.

Bacteria or germs that can cause food poisoning:

• E.coli enteritis
• Campylobacter enteritis
• Staphylococcus aureus
• Salmonella
• Shigella

Who are at Risk?

• Anyone eating contaminated food can be affected by it.
• The very young and the very old are at a greatest risk for food poisoning.
• People suffering from kidney disease or diabetes.
• People with poor immunity levels.
• Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be extra careful to avoid food poisoning.

Food Poisoning

Food Poisoning Symptoms:

Symptoms generally begin to appear within couple of hours after having the contaminated food. The time period may vary, depending on the cause. The common symptoms include:

Abdominal pain
• Diarrhoea
• Nausea and vomiting
• Weakness or fatigue
Dehydration
• Fever, chills

Food Poisoning Diagnosis:

• Test of the stools
• Test of the food you have eaten to find out the bacteria that is causing the symptoms. However, tests may not always find the cause of diarrhea.

Food Poisoning Treatment:

If you have adequate amount of fluids and rest, you would recover within a couple of days.

• Avoid dehydration by having lots of fluids.

• Drink oral rehydration mixture to replace fluids and minerals lost due to vomiting and diarrhoea.

• If you suffer from diarrhoea and are not able to drink fluids, you should visit a hospital, where you would be given fluids through IV. Generally young children are given fluids by IV.

• Control nausea and vomiting by sipping soda or other fluids. Avoid solid foods, especially, the ones that are fried, spicy or sweet. Have light or bland food items.

• Take medicine for diarrhoea only if your doctor prescribes it.

• Get plenty of rest.

Oral Rehydration Mixture:

Make your own oral rehydration mixture by mixing half-teaspoon of salt and 4 tablespoons of sugar in one liter of water. Make sure that the water is safe.

Also Read: What are Some Easily Digested Foods

When to See a Doctor:

Contact the doctor immediately, if you have:

• Bloody diarrhea
• Reduced urine output or highly colored urine
• Sunken eyes
Dry skin
• Altered mental status
• Extreme weakness
• High fever
• You are not being able to take fluids orally

SOURCE: B-Positive Health Magazine

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