Food Poisoning – Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Food poisoning occurs with consumption of food that is contaminated with harmful bacteria, virus, toxins or parasites. This foodborne illness can exhibit a variety of symptoms both in mild and severe cases. Pregnant women, children, old people and people susceptible to chronic illnesses are more likely to suffer from food poisoning than others. Similarly, some foods are more likely to cause food poisoning than others. Negligence and insufficient knowledge can lead to the person being hospitalized, so it would be advisable to always call on your doctor in case the symptoms of food poisoning begin to show.

Symptoms of food poisoning

Depending on the bacteria, virus or parasite that has infected the person, the signs and severity of food poisoning may vary. The most common symptoms exhibited during food poisoning are diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Alongside, some other symptoms might start to surface like:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal pain and cramping

The symptoms can surface from anywhere between an hour up to 10 days of consuming contaminated food.

Foods that cause food poisoning

There are several types of foods that pose a high risk of causing food poisoning. More than other foods, these should be stored, cleaned and cooked properly

  • Poultry
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Sea Food like fish and shellfish
  • Rice
  • Unpasteurized dairy
  • Deli meats like ham, bacon, salami, and hot dogs
  • Eggs
  • Fruits
  • Sprouts

When to see a doctor?

Most cases of food poisoning can be self-treated by drinking lots of fluids and rest. However, there are some unusual symptoms for which you might need to be treated by a doctor. These are:

  • Any signs of dehydration
  • Inability to hold down liquids without vomiting
  • Severe gut pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Fever of 102 F or higher
  • Dark or bloody stools

How to reduce the risk of food poisoning?

There’s a lot that can be done at your end to prevent this menace known as food poisoning. Here are some precautions you could take:

  • Always wash hands with soap before preparing food.
  • When it comes to raw meat and poultry, use separate chopping boards and knives. Also cook it properly rather than washing over and over again as it only leads to spread of bacteria to other things.
  • Instead, wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before intake.
  • Don’t leave leftovers sitting at room temperature and put them right in the fridge.
  • Throw away foods that have gone past their expiration date.

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