Food Poisoning also known as Foodborne Illness, is a common medical condition caused due to intake of toxic, spoiled or contaminated food. It is often a distressing and even life-threatening problem, if untreated timely, and affects millions of people globally.
Every other month, one of the kids in the school got food poisoning, complained my sister who works there as a teacher. Then she went on more about how food poisoning is this rampant growing disease among the children and adults as well and how even after strict measures there are always loopholes that bring you down to food poisoning. I am sure all of us twice or thrice or at least once in their lifetime has been through the food poisoning deal. For me, it was the celebratory food for my sweet 16th birthday, for others it may be the infant age where the digestive system was a tad bit weak or for people in their mid life when the feeling of digesting everything was fatally proved wrong to them.
However food poisoning is one of the most common diseases required by the mankind to put a stop in their junk food frenzy. Food poisoning is how you get reminded once in a lifetime by your body to keep the nutrition levels intact by sticking to the nutrition food more often.
Food poisoning is a medical condition when your body cannot handle a certain characteristic or quantity of element, preferably food at most times which ends up in creation of an infection or condition which may or may not be toxic in nature which causes a certain set of excuses or illness which can be different for different people. For some it might be nauseous vomiting for a good three or four days. For others it might be dysentery or diarrhea.
However the myth of food poisoning only occurring due to consumption of contaminated food is a hoax. Food poisoning can be caused due to any sort of food not compatible with the body. often it is the pathogens, the bacterial or the viral ones that should be held responsible for the occurrence of this disease. The common bacteria to blame in these cases are the campylobacter. The main sources of this are curd, poultry and unpasteurized milk. Salmonella bacterium is second in the race followed by the other kinds.
Then again, bacteria are universal beings present in almost everything, the good and the bad food. Hence, only bad food is not the source to food poisoning. This however is a simple disease that at times does not require intensive treatment or any treatment at that case. The patient suffers a few days only to get better the next day. However if this is caused due to chemical tampering or mutation in the body, it might take a serious turn.
Food Poisoning Symptoms And Causes:
The common measures during food poisoning however include a lot of required rest with frequent runs to the bathroom to relieve yourself making you feel better each time. If diarrhea is the case, a lot of fluid intake is a necessity. Then again the d nutrition is getting deprived so the next best thing is to stick to bland yet proper food for the next few days.
Causes Of Food Poisoning:
Even though the cause is already a known one here is a list to the main causes for food poisoning.
1. Food Contents:
The main cause of food poisoning is always related to food contents that don’t match up to the body’s compatibility. Food can be considered contaminated at any point of time from its production, to processing to making and eating. Amongst this process you never know when you will be affected. A food not properly cooked is contaminated food. When the food is being distributed from markets to markets, they are often put into jute sacks. The pollution, dirt and soil come in contact with them through the sleek jute sack openings. This then becomes one step ahead to contamination.
2. Failing To Store The Food At Required Temperature:
While keeping dairy products or meat outside refrigerator can render it unfit to be eaten, it is equally important to ensure proper temperature regulation of such perishable items. Sometimes, even your refrigerator can breakdown, the instruction written on the labels may be misread or you might just forget to keep the food back into its controlled environment. Whatever the reason may turn out to be, these circumstances increases the chances of food getting contaminated and even resulting in food poisoning. It is therefore advisable to regularly check on your refrigerator temperature and carefully follow the storage instruction written on the products label.
3. Intake Of Raw Shellfish:
Eating raw oysters may feel very delectable to your taste buds; it comes with its own set of health hazards. It has been found that oysters collected from Gulf of Mexico and other regions are mostly contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus bacteria infection, as they are left unrefrigerated for quite a few hours. Eating raw oysters might not show some immediate discomfort, however its ingestion is known to be potential threat of food poisoning.
4. Intake Of Expired Food:
Eating foods that have already expired is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Such foods become soiled easily thereby increasing the chances of food poisoning. It is therefore essential to always check the expiration dates before purchasing a product or consuming it at your homes. If however there is no date mentioned in the package, use the guidelines for cold storage provided by the government, to ensure if the food is fit to be eaten.
It is often the pathogens that cause the food poisoning. Even if the food is not soiled, chances are that the food might be the reason for which your poisoning or toxicity appeared.
Bacterial infection is also known to be one of the prominent food poisoning causes. Some of the dangerous bacteria include Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli, of which Salmonella is the biggest culprit. Intake of food that has been contaminated by bacterial infection consequently results in food poisoning.
Parasites, although uncommon are yet another cause of food poisoning that can be extremely dangerous. The most common food poisoning-causing parasite is Toxoplasma. It has found that parasites can even reside in the digestive tract and remain undetected for several years. However, it can pose serious health issues for people with weakened immune system and for pregnant women.
8. Improper Canning:
In most of the households, canning is a common practice done to ensure longevity of food products, however improper canning can turn to be hazardous and lead to food poisoning. Botulism is the most widespread bacteria contaminant found in improper canned foods. Therefore while canning it is essential to carefully boil the lids and jars to free them completely from any lingering bacteria. Furthermore you must ensure that the cans are sealed properly.
9. Unpasteurized Foods:
Eating unpasteurized foods does not always result in food poisoning provided that it has been served and stored in a proper manner. However the likelihood of getting food poisoning in such cases is higher in pregnant women, young children, older people and those with compromised immune systems.
10. Lack of Personal Hygiene:
Not maintaining personal hygiene can be attributed to be one of main food poisoning causes. Eating foods prior to washing your hands can cause easy contamination. Eating food with unclean hands can cause infection with bacteria like Clostridium-perfringens and Staphylococcus-aureus. It is advisable to wash hands prior to and also after eating your meals.
Food Poisoning Symptoms:
The symptoms of food poisoning normally vary depending on the source of contamination. Most of the food poisoning symptoms are often mistaken for gastro intestinal illness and may even go undetected. Such cases can turn out to be debilitating and also life-threatening. The symptoms of food poisoning may range from being very mild like stomach ache to acute such as diarrhea or recurrent fever. Usually the food poisoning is followed by some common symptoms which are enlisted below.
1. Nausea And Vomiting:
The sudden sickness of the condition comes out, literally in the form of puke which is at times a bliss since immediately after the barfing session you start feeling a tad bit better than before. However the bitterness is not yet avoided since the puking session is not yet done with. These vomiting feels stick with you until the day of your complete recovery. Vomiting might keep your insides clean from the food gone toxic but this also makes you weak which is why a proper nutrition is required.
2. Bowel Movement:
The next best thing is the bowel movement which too has the same side effects as vomiting. This is what we termed as diarrhea in medical diary. However in serious cases this may be accompanied by blood loss through stool which may or may not be a painful story. These feels like nausea are reoccurring. Even when the actual need is not there, you might feel like running to the bathroom. With you loosing bowel in the form of watery consistency, dehydration might be a concern so always keep a bottle handy.
See More: What Causes Diarrhea
Mild but prolonged fever might persist during your food poisoning days. Fever is a simple symptom common whenever your body is having a rough day at work. These fevers can be treated by simple household ailments from the medicine cabinet. At high temperatures this may cause chills and body ache.
4. Stomach Cramps:
This is clearly because of the indigestion you are having inside your body. as your organs burn and boil to go back to their original state, the acidity and the indigestion keeps giving you cramps in your stomach which is at times indicating your need to run to the bathroom.
5. Bloody Stools:
Sometimes, in acute cases of food poisoning there can be traces of blood in your stool. Your stool may even appear tarry or black in color. Whatever the reason, it is best to consult a doctor and start suitable medication.
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Persistent headache can also be one of the symptoms of food poisoning. Headaches may also occur alongside fever, rendering a very uncomfortable and distressing feeling. If the headache does not go even after taking sound sleep, it should not be ignored and immediately consulted with a doctor.
7. Blurred Vision:
Blurry vision is also one of the food poisoning symptoms that are visible in severe cases. This is often accompanied by some other neurological symptoms like tingling in the arms or weakness in the muscles. It is best to book an appointment with your physician and discuss the problem in detail.
8. Loss of Appetite:
Sometimes food poisoning also results in loss of appetite. The person infected might not feel the urge to eat and the food eaten may often come out in vomiting.
9. Acute Dehydration:
In most of the cases, food poisoning results in acute dehydration. The patient will feel more thirsty and excessive dryness in the mouth. Due to loss of significant fluids from the body, you may also experience very less or no urination at all.
Loss of appetite and dehydration may ultimately result in overall weakness. The patient may feel lethargic most of the times, in spite of taking adequate rest. Weakness may also be accompanied by body pain. It is best to consult your doctor for early detection of food poisoning.
These signs and symptoms of food poisoning may appear within few hours of infection or in some cases may taken even few days or weeks to appear. Most of the times, they are mistaken with other forms of illness and get undetected. It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention to prevent the condition from getting severe and avoid causing any potential damage to other organs of the body. By getting the suitable medical treatment, food poisoning can be cured easily.
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