Food poisoning is a commonly found infection generally caused by consuming contaminated food. Bacterial or viral contamination of food mostly causes food poisoning. Some parasites found in raw or under cooked meat and fish can also cause food poisoning. Mostly bacterial contamination causes food poisoning. The reason could be improper handling of food, faulty preparation in home or restaurant or food outlets.
Bacteria cause disease through rapid multiplication inside the body or by producing toxins. Clostridium botulinum, Escherichia coli, salmonella strains and staphylococcus aureus mostly cause food poisoning.
Symptoms of food poisoning are: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cramps, headache. Sometimes fever and extreme weakness can also be present.
People with immune system disorder, people with chronic illness, infants and young children are more vulnerable than others. If anyone from this group is suffering from symptoms of food poisoning immediate medical help is necessary. Food poisoning due to clostridium botulinum causes double vision and difficulty in speaking, chewing, swallowing and breathing this condition also needs immediate medical help.
Body has its own system to throw microorganisms outside. Through diarrhea and vomiting body throws problem causing microorganisms outside and helps digestive system come to normal function in healthy people. In normal cases patients recover without any medical help but in vulnerable groups infection could be serious and medical help is required.
Precautions to avoid food poisoning
- Meats, fish, shellfish and poultry should be handled carefully as foods of animal origin are most susceptible to contamination. Especially poultry becomes contaminated most often due to bacterial presence on the skin.
- Preparation surfaces should be cleaned properly. Traces of raw food remains on unwashed surfaces, so do not allow cooked food to touch it. It can contaminate the food.
- Place raw food in sealed containers to prevent cross contamination.
- Sponge for cleaning dishes should be cleaned with hot water and soap after every use.
- Eat food soon after preparation, leaving food for more than two hours facilitate bacterial growth specially temperature between7 degree Celsius and 60 degree Celsius. Keep food in refrigerator if you want to eat it later.
- Discolored and bad smelling food should be discarded.
- Do not buy or use can that have bulging ends. Puffed cans are a result of gases produced by bacterial metabolism.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before starting any food preparation, before eating anything and after coming back from outdoors.
- Keep your finger nails short if possible; they could be germ breeding place.
If you suffer from food poisoning !
- Sipping a mixture of apple juice and water or weak tea can help. Avoid fresh fruits for a few days.
- After symptoms have subsided reintroduce solid foods like banana, cooked apples, rice and dry toast.
- Avoid raw or under cooked eggs.
- Soft cooked chicken and mashed potatoes could be taken later
- Give your digestive system a rest from solid food but drink plenty of diluted sweetened drinks to replace body fluids and provide energy.