Food Poisoning - Health Center

Food Poisoning

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Food Poisoning And Dealing With It

Food Poisoning is also known as an illness which is caused with the contamination of food with microbes which induces the infirmity in humans. These microbes include basically of bacteria, viruses as well as parasites. The toxins released by these microbes are the ones which are responsible for inducing of the diseases.

These infectious organisms are the ones which tend to contaminate the food during the process of processing as well as production phase. The contamination of the food however also can occur during the cooking of the food at the home with the incorrect handling of the food.

The symptoms for food poisoning tend to be visible within a couple of hours from the incubation of the microbes. Some of the main symptoms can come out to be nausea, vomiting as well as diarrhoea. In most of the cases, food poisoning tends to be mild in nature and can be easily eased with the help of proper treatment. In some of the severe cases, the people tend to go to hospital and seek special treatment.

Causes for Food Poisoning

Since food poisoning occurs with the consumption of the contaminated food, this can happen at any time during the preparation of the food. This could be done during the phase of growing, harvesting, processing, storing or in the preparation phase mostly. Another one of the major reasons for the contamination of the food could be the cross contamination – the one which is caused due to the transfer of the organisms from one source to the other. The major sources for the microbe incubation are the raw food materials. In case the food is not cooked properly or when the microbes are not destroyed before cooking, then it can lead to food poisoning.

A lot of bacterium, viruses as well as parasites are responsible for food poisoning.

  1. Campylobacter :  This is the kind of bacteria which grows in meats and poultry. The major source of contamination is when animal faeces come in contact with the meats. Also, these bacteria also breed on the milk as well as water.
  2. Clostridium Botulinum :  This bacteria breeds on the canned goods which have a low acidic level. Also, if the canned goods are not processed properly and are kept at warm temperatures, it can be the breeding ground for this bacterium.
  3. Clostridium Perfringens:  Meats, stews and gravies are the ones which are mostly contaminated with this bacterium.
  4. Escherichia Coli (E. coli): Beef which has been contaminated with animal faeces is the one which is the breeding ground for these bacteria. Undercooked beef as well as water which has been contaminated with the microbes is the most common source for the spreading the bacterium.
  5. Shigella : This bacterium breeds in seafood as well as raw produce. This can be spread from one person to the other through infected food and it’s handling.
  6. Salmonella : This bacterium spreads through contaminated meats, milks as well as poultry. Infected utensils as well as infected food handlers can be the major sources for the contamination.

Signs and Symptoms for Food Poisoning:

Since the sources for the contamination of the food can vary, more than few signs and symptoms can appear. Some of them are as follows:

  1.       Nausea
  2.       Excessive vomiting
  3.       Diarrhoea
  4.       Pains and cramps in the abdomen
  5.       Fever

Signs and symptoms of the disease can start appearing within a couple of hours from the initial incubation. The sickness and the symptoms can extend for a couple of hours to days depending from one patient to the other.  

From the inception of the first few symptoms, it is recommended to see the doctor. It is recommended to seek the medical attention if any of these symptoms appear:

  1.       Vomiting and inability of the person to keep the fluids down
  2.       Vomiting and stools accompanied by blood
  3.       Diarrhoea for more than three day
  4.       Extreme pains as well as  cramps in the abdomen
  5.       Excessive thirst, dryness of the mouth, infrequent urination, weakness as well as dizziness.
  6.       Blurring of the vision, weakness of the muscles as well as tingling in the arms.

Tests and Diagnosis for Food Poisoning

For the correct diagnosis of the disease, it is required by the doctors to view the medical history of the patient first. The doctors also check the patient for the time duration of the sickness, other symptoms as well as the food consumed in the past.  On the basis of the symptoms, the doctor can come out to conduct some specific tests in order to affirm everything. These tests may include blood tests, urine tests, stool tests as well as an examination for the parasites in order to confirm the reason for the food poisoning.

The test samples are given to the laboratory for the checking of the kind of parasites which are present in the samples. If this is detected, the proper treatment options are advised for the same.

Treatment Options for Food Poisoning

When the doctors are able to determine the sources for the food poisoning, then they are able to determine the real treatment which suits the best to the patient. This treatment is also dependent on the severity of the symptoms which the patient is undergoing. In most of the cases, the symptoms tend to end in a couple of days on their own, but there are exceptions in which treatment has to be sought properly.

Some of the most viable treatment options are as follows:

  1. Replacing the Fluids: Fluids as well as electrolytes, which are rich in minerals such as Sodium, Potassium as well as Calcium are prescribed to the patient in order to make up for the fluids which are lost otherwise. These fluids, which are lost due to the excessive dehydration, need to be replaced back. Most of the people are hospitalized due to dehydration and are given the salts and fluids intravenously.
  2. Antibiotic Prescription: Antibiotics are prescribed in case a person is suffering from the bacterial food poisoning. Such cases of poisoning, which is caused due to the listeria is the one which is treated with an intravenous prescription and requires hospitalization. It is recommended to start the treatment at the soonest in order to gain the maximum results out.

In some cases, loperamide and bismuth subsalicylate is prescribed to the patients for the speedy treatment for food poisoning.

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