Everything You Need to Know About the Food Poisoning

Food poisoning: Everything you need to know - Companion4health.com


Food poisoning is an illness that occurs from eating poisonous food containing bacteria, viruses, pesticides, or toxins. It is more common and prevalent in the world today.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of six people get food poisoning, around 48 million people in America. Most get better without any medications.

Food poisoning is both common and riskier in a lot of people around the world, like infants, young children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

The same food can affect different people differently. For example some may feel bad after eating few bites and the same food has no effect on others even after eating a large portion.

Symptoms can show up instantly or can take few days or a week. The more delayed it gets the more difficult it is to understand what food may have caused the infection.


Causes of food poisoning

Food poisoning can be caused by three major causes, following are:

  • Bacteria

The most common cause of food poisoning so far is bacteria. The most common bacteria are E. coliListeriaand Salmonella.

The biggest cause of food poisoning in United States is Salmonella. Around 1,000,000 cases of food poisoning, including 20,000 hospitalization of people, is caused by salmonella infection annually.

Campylobacter and C. botulinum are two other kinds of bacteria which cause food poisoning.

  • Parasites

It is not as common as food poisoning caused by bacteria. Parasites that spread through food cause food poisoning and can be very dangerous.

The most common parasite seen in food is Toxoplasma, generally found in cat litter boxes.

People with week immune systems and pregnant women have a higher risk of contracting parasites because they get stuck in your intestines. They can go undetected for years.

  • Viruses

Virus can also cause food poisoning. Around 19 million people get food poisoning every year by a virus which doctors call norovirus or Norwalk.

There are few more viruses like sapovirus, rotavirus, and astrovirus which cause the same symptoms but are less dangerous. Happatitis A is a serious condition which can spread through food.


Symptoms of food poisoning

If you have this illness it can go undetected and symptoms can vary depending on the source of infection. The time it takes for symptoms to show depends on the source of infection. It can take about 1 hour to about 28 days to show symptoms.

The following are the symptoms of food poisoning and you will find atleast 3-4 of them if you are have this illness:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild fever
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches


Life threatening symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea continues for more than three days
  • A fever more than 101.5°F
  • Difficulty seeing or speaking
  • Symptoms of severe dehydration, including dry mouth, passing little to no urine, and difficulty keeping fluids down
  • Bloody urine


If you see these types of symptoms in your body please consult your doctor.


How does food get contaminated?

Pathogens are bacteria present in all the food we eat. And heating kills all the pathogens before it gets to our plate.

Eating raw food is the most common cause of food poisoning because the pathogens are still alive, as they don’t go through cooking process.

Sometimes food gets in contact with organisms in fecal matter when we do not wash them properly. Water generally has contamination of fecal matter and also Meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Many foodborne micro organisms are present in healthy animals that we raise for food. Meat and poultry may become contaminated when they are being slaughtered by small amounts of intestinal contents.

Fresh fruits and vegetables can be contaminated if they’re washed with water that’s contaminated by animal manure or human sewage.

In general, refrigerating food or freezing them prevents virtually all bacteria from growing. If you heat your food properly, all parasites, viruses and most bacteria will die.


Risks of food poisoning

Anyone can get food poisoning. Nearly everyone gets food poisoning once in their lives. There are few people who are more at risk of getting food poisoning than others.

The people who have week immune systems and an auto-immune disease, have a greater risk of food poisoning than others.

Pregnant women have more chances of having food poisoning than others because their bodies are coping with changes to the metabolism and circulatory system during pregnancy

Elderly individuals also have a greater risk of getting food poisoning because their immune systems may not respond quickly to micro organisms which affect them.

And children too are at a very high risk because their immune systems are not as developed as adults, so they can respond to infections quickly. Young children get affected by diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration quickly.


Diagnosis of food poisoning

Your doctor will diagnose the kind of gastrointestinal disorder supported by your symptoms.

In severe cases, blood tests, stool tests, and tests on food that you have eaten could also be conducted to work out what’s causing the gastrointestinal disorder.

Your doctor may additionally use a urine test to judge whether you are dehydrated as a results of gastrointestinal disorder.

This illness is usually diagnosed with your history, including how long you have been sick, your symptoms and specific foods you’ve eaten. Your doctor will perform a physical exam, searching for signs of dehydration.

Depending on your symptoms and health history, your doctor may conduct diagnostic tests, like a biopsy, stool culture or examination for parasites, to spot the cause and ensure the diagnosis.

For stool culture, your doctor will send a sample of your stool to the laboratory, where a technicians identify the infectious organism. If pathogen is found, your doctor will notify your local health department to work out if the sickness is linked to a pestilence.


Treatment of food poisoning

Food poisoning can be treated at home. It can be resolved in three to five days.

If you are sick, it’s crucial to stay properly hydrated. Sports drinks that are high in electrolytes will be helpful with this. Coconut milk can restore carbohydrates and help with fatigue.

Avoid caffeine, which can irritate the epithelial duct. Decaffeinated teas with soothing herbs like chamomile, peppermint, and dandelion may calm indigestion.

The counter medications like Imodium and Pepto-Bismol helps in controlling diarrhea and suppress nausea. However, you ought to visit your doctor before using these medications, because the body uses vomiting and diarrhea to rid the system of the toxin.

By using these medications the severity of the illness can be delayed by seeking expert treatment.

It’s also important for those with sickness to get lots of rest.

In severe cases of sickness, individuals may require hydration with intravenous (IV) fluids at a hospital. Within the very worst cases of food poising, a extended hospitalization stay is also required while the individual recovers.


There are several things you should eat when you have food poisoning.

You should eat simple to digest foods, that are low in fat. Such as:

  • Saltine crackers
  • Gelatin
  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Chicken broth
  • Bland potatoes
  • Boiled vegetables
  • Toast
  • Soda without caffeine (ginger ale, root beer
  • Diluted fruit juices
  • Sport drinks


Several things you should not eat:

  • Dairy products, especially milk and cheeses
  • Fatty foods
  • Highly seasoned foods
  • Food with high sugar content
  • Spicy foods
  • Fried foods
  • Processed foods


You should also avoid:

  • Caffeine (soda, energy drinks, coffee)
  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine


This illness can be life-threatening, however the CDC says this can be extremely rare.

While suffering from this illness is uncomfortable, the great news is that the majority people recover completely within 48 hours.


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