George Bernard Shaw, a famous playwright said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” And it’s true — most people love food. Thus, it can be said that it’s one of the greatest pleasures in life.
There’s nothing wrong with indulging in your favorite foods once in a while. It would be best if you also made it a point to diversify your meal repertoire by trying different dishes from time to time. It is, however, vital to make sure that the food you’re eating is safe and sanitary. Food poisoning is a term denoting food-borne illness due to the consumption of contaminated food.
When it comes to food poisoning, prevention is still better than cure. Many food poisoning incidents stem from the unhygienic preparation and handling of ingredients or improper cooking procedures. There are also instances when food poisoning occurs during the storage and shipping of edible items.
Here are simple ways to prevent food poisoning at home:
- Always ensure cleanliness: It’s a must to wash hands before preparing food and before eating. Utensils, containers, and kitchen surfaces should also be washed properly before and after using them.
- Thaw food correctly: The best way to thaw frozen foods is by defrosting it or use the defrost setting of your microwave oven.
- Cook using the right temperature: Avoid food poisoning by using a food thermometer when cooking different kinds of meat, especially seafood.
- Store foods properly and promptly: Cross-contamination is one of the causes of food poisoning. Always keep raw meat away from other kinds of foods. Make sure to freeze or refrigerate perishables within an hour or two of purchasing them.
- Do not eat when in doubt: If you have any doubt about the way the food was prepared, cooked, or stored, discard it immediately.
Food poisoning is a serious matter, especially for young children, seniors, and individuals with weak immune systems. It’s important to bring the person with suspected food poisoning to the nearest healthcare facility for treatment.
7 Signs That You Have Food Poisoning
Imagine having dinner with a group of friends and your start feeling sick after a few hours. Consuming food or beverages that were contaminated result in a combination of these symptoms. Understanding the signs of a food-borne illness will help you find a solution promptly.
Here are common and the not-so-usual signs that you’re suffering from food poisoning:
Each person has a different reaction to food poisoning. Some people may feel stomach pains and nausea, while others may experience cold sweats diarrhea. The toxins released by harmful microorganisms, like Shigella, E. coli, and Campylobacter jejuni, in your gut may result in frequent watery stools. In some cases, the bowel movement may be tinged with blood (Shigella).
What makes diarrhea dangerous is the risk of dehydration for the patient. So, it’s important to keep them well-hydrated and seek medical attention immediately.
One of the first signs of possible food poisoning is abdominal cramping or abdominal pain. Although other health conditions may cause pain in the abdomen, if you start feeling stomach discomfort an hour or so after eating, it may be a symptom of any of these foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella, shigella, staphylococcus aureus.
Severe abdominal pain is often caused by Escherichia coli, a type of bacteria found in the intestines of animals and humans. Unpasteurized milk and fruit juices, cheese, undercooked beef, raw fruits, and vegetables are often associated with E. coli poisoning.
Nausea and Vomiting
If you have a food-borne illness, you may feel nauseous within hours after eating something bad. The queasiness may be accompanied by the urge to vomit.
Vomiting is the reaction of the body trying to get something out. Frequent vomiting, however, is dangerous because you may get dehydrated, too.
The common causes of vomiting when you suffer from food poisoning are E. coli, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria, Salmonella, and Shigella.
It’s possible to develop a low-grade fever when your body is trying to fight off the harmful microorganisms and toxins. When you’re suffering from food-borne poisoning or infection, a slight fever is the body’s way of signaling that you have an infection.
Fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius (or 100,4 degrees Fahrenheit) is a sign that you need immediate medical treatment.
Headache and Muscle Pain
People suffering from mild to severe food poisoning may experience headaches due to dehydration. When the body is dehydrated from vomiting and frequent stools, you may develop flu-like symptoms, like muscle pains and headaches.
If a virus caused food poisoning, a person might develop a form of arthritis or joint pain due to the inflammation or infection in the intestines.
Weakness and Lightheadedness
Food poisoning can make you weak and lethargic, especially when the previous symptoms are severe. Many cases of food-borne illnesses resolve without the need for medical treatments. However, you may need to go to the hospital if you experience dry mouth, very little urination, and dizziness — signs of severe dehydration.
At the onset of diarrhea and vomiting due to food poisoning, you must hydrate yourself all the time with clean fluids and oral rehydration salts.
Blurred vision is a neurological symptom that’s not commonly present in food-borne illnesses. However, muscle weakness, a tingling sensation in the arms, plus blurry vision warrants immediate medical attention.
The deadliest form of food poisoning is Botulism, which is caused by bacteria that can survive without oxygen. It may present symptoms like blurred vision, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue. In advanced cases, Botulism can cause paralysis.
Your healthcare professional is capable of diagnosing whether a different kind of food-borne pathogen causes these food poisoning symptoms.
Food poisoning is an illness that can produce mild to severe symptoms. If not treated immediately, food-borne illnesses can put your life at risk. If you or a loved one is presenting a combination of symptoms such as weakness, frequent vomiting, and bloody stool, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Fortunately, food poisoning can be prevented by practicing good hygiene at home and consuming clean food and handled properly. Familiarizing yourself with the signs of food poisoning can ultimately save your life.