Food Poisoning Signs Symptoms Causes Treatment and Prevention
Posted By HealthcareOnTime Team
Posted on 2022-03-09
Flatulence, Diarrhea and vomiting...Beware! It could be the very food you relished just hours ago. How many of us drool on the mere thought of savoury road side food; their smell and taste coupled with the
ease of availability makes them a favoured quick meal for those routine hunger pangs! Apart from this junking,
many in today's era, after fighting through a stressful day at work, storm back home and start munching on
whatever they can latch onto: unwashed fruits from the basket, chips, etc. No time or energy to clean up
oneself, wash hands or even the fruit... isn't it? "How does it matter!", "I can't see any dirt on my hands or the fruit!", "Oh those tiny germs can't
affect my strong body!" Well yes, may be most of the times we are spared from any adverse effects, thanks
to our strong immune system. But not always! At some point our body can give up and that is when we crash
under the burden of "Food Poisoning!".
WHAT IS FOOD POISONING?
Foodborne illnesses better known as 'food poisoning' is referred to a series of health complications that
may arise due to consumption of contaminated, spoilt or food containing toxins. Eating food that is
contaminated with any form of microbes such as bacteria (Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Campylobacter),
viruses (Norovirus or Norwalk virus) or parasites (Toxoplasma gondii) can cause food poisoning. Even the
toxins produced by either of the contaminants alone are potent enough to cause food poisoning. Food
contamination can occur at any stage; right from processing, packaging, shelving, to the method of
consumption; at every step lurks a probable danger! Again it is not necessary that only outside food
or packaged food can cause food poisoning. Even the food cooked in your house can get contaminated with
these microbes if it is not handled or cooked properly.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF FOOD POISONING
The signs and symptoms majorly depend upon the type of contaminant that has caused food poisoning. While some
may start acting within an hour of ingestion, some may take few hours to days of incubation to show any visible
signs. The classic signs and symptoms that are observed include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Stomach pain
Certain life threatening symptoms if present are to be noted and immediate medical intervention to be done;
- Persistent diarrhea (more than 3 days)
- High fever
- Difficulty in speaking and blurring vision
- Decreased urine output (less passing of urine)
- Dehydration which is also accompanied by dry mouth
There are more than 250 causes recorded, but a few popular causative factors for poisoning include -
E. coli, Shigella, etc.
As the name suggests, it is the poisoning caused due to ingestion of toxins that are present in mushrooms.
It is the most common type of food poisoning which is a food in itself! It should be noted that allergy
towards mushrooms should not be confused with mushroom poisoning. Under/ over cooking, or even a
combination of ingredients can make mushrooms poisonous. Besides the classic signs and symptoms, an
individual with mushroom poisoning may show
>> Excessive sweating
>> Continuous flow of tears from the eyes
>> Mental confusion
FOOD POISONING TREATMENT STRATEGIES
Most of the food poisoning conditions can be taken care of by over the counter drugs or by consulting a
Symptoms such as dehydration, vomiting, etc. can be handled by ensuring sufficient hydration. Consumption of
food that is light on the digestive system, drinking coconut water, fresh fruit juices, etc. becomes a necessity
to up the energy levels. Plenty of rest is also recommended to conserve energy. In case of life threatening symptoms,
proper medical approach is a mandate; with some also requiring hospitalisation for recovery. Severe cases of
poisoning warrant the need to culture and identify the causative agent for ensuing appropriate antibiotic therapy.
HOW TO PREVENT FOOD PREVENT POISONING?
Prevention is always the best way to avoid any unwanted calamity and it stays true for food poisoning too.
Handle the food you are to consume in the best manner possible, so that it does not come in contact with any
unhygienic conditions. Implement proper washing and cooking methods in case of foods such as meat, eggs and
other animal products as they tend to harbour numerous infectious agents. Certain vegetables, such as cabbage,
carrots, tomatoes, onions, etc. which are being used in salads should be washed thoroughly before use. Maintain
self-hygiene. Wash your hands before cooking and eating food. Also, while handling meat there are chances of
cross contamination (washing the meat and simultaneously cooking something). Avoid such incidences.