Food poisoning is a term commonly used to refer to the disturbances of the gastrointestinal tract as a result of eating contaminated, spoiled or toxic food. The most common and immediate symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Symptoms of food poisoning:
The symptoms can be different depending on the source of the infection. Also, the person infected can show up symptoms immediately or after a gap of one day to four weeks.
Typically, symptoms of food poisoning may include:
Symptoms of dehydration include:
Some infections causing food poisoning can lead to life-threatening illnesses like:
Symptoms of severe dehydration include:
Causes of food poisoning:
The organisms that cause food poisoning are bacteria, virus and other parasites.
Various bacteria like E coli, listeria and Salmonella are the most common causes of food poisoning. The symptoms appear after the bacteria shows its effects and may come up in 1 to 4 weeks after exposure. Some sources of food of E.coli are raw or undercooked ground beef, raw vegetables like lettuce, sprouts, etc. Listeria is found in foods like soft cheeses, hot dogs, smoked seafood, etc. Salmonella is found in undercooked chicken, turkey meat, eggs, raw fruits and vegetables.
Botulism is caused by Clostridium baratii and can affect the nerves. Breathing difficulties, muscle paralysis and death can occur if this bacterium is ingested with food.
Virus causing food poisoning include Norovirus, Rotavirus and Sapovirus. Symptoms present after 12 to 48 hours of exposure. The virus may be ingested along with leafy greens, fresh fruits and shellfish that are not cleaned properly or cleaned with unsafe water. Virus causing food poisoning can spread when the infected person touches common surfaces and others touch the same.
Parasites like Toxoplasma gondii are found in foods like undercooked meat like lamb and pork. Cat feces may contain the parasite and scooping or cleaning the litter boxes can cause the person to catch the infection.
How does food get contaminated?
Heat usually kills the pathogens or disease causing organisms. However, pathogens may reach the food in some of the following ways.
Food poisoning treatment:
Generally, food poisoning can be treated at home by food restrictions and keeping hydrated. Some of the ways to manage the condition include:
In more severe cases of dehydration, the person may require hydration with intravenous fluids in a hospital.