Food poisoning is a very common health problem. Eating food contaminated with bacteria, virus, pathogens, infectious organisms, and its toxins leads to a condition called food poisoning. It is a widespread and common issue. Statistics report 3 million cases annually among Americans. Food poisoning upsets the whole digestive system. Most importantly it influences the stomach and its major functions.
Its symptoms may vary ranging from mild to severe depending on the adversity of food poisoning. Symptoms might show up after few hours of food ingestion. It may even become observable after few days. The severity of infection and symptoms depends upon the type of pathogens causing it. Some common symptoms of food poisoning are
- Mild or severe abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Fever & chills
- Muscles ache
Visit the doctor right away if any of these symptoms occur. This is crucial because negligence in handling these can prove life-threatening
- Diarrhea for more than 3 consecutive days
- Inability to speak and see properly
- High fever usually more than 101.5
- Signs of severe dehydration such as little or no urine and dry mouth
In some mild cases, self-care can prove beneficial. Such mild cases mostly require hydration, some bed rest, fever-reducing medication, and a simple diet. In severe cases, immediately visit a physician or health care provider.
To cover up excess dehydration, doctors might give patients intravenous fluids. In cases, if food poisoning is caused by some sort of bacteria then a doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
Anyone ingesting contaminated food can become ill due to its intake. The level of severity to which someone is affected depends on a number of factors. It depends on the type of infection, age, health and, level of exposure. Some people are at a higher risk of getting adverse effects of food poisoning as compared to others.
1. Older People
Adults aging 60 and above are more prone to food poisoning. The main reason is that with age the immune system of the body becomes weak and less active. Thus, increases the risk factor for elderly people.
2. Infants & Young Children
Infants are delicate and the same goes for younger children. Their immune system is not fully developed and they are more vulnerable to diseases and infections. This puts them at a higher risk factor to get food-borne illnesses
3. Pregnant Women
During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through various changes. This makes them more likely to get diseases when coming in contact with pathogens. Thus, increases the risk factor of getting food-borne illnesses for pregnant women.
4. People With Chronic Diseases
Long-term and prolonged diseases also increase the risk factor of getting food-borne illnesses. Conditions such as diabetes, HIV, AIDS and, cancer can weaken the immune system and makes the body more vulnerable to other infections.
Food Poisoning can be reduced to its minimum by maintaining hygiene and taking some preventive measures. According to an estimate, 48 million people suffer from food-borne illnesses every year. Taking preventive measures reduces the risk factor of food-borne illnesses.
1. Personal Hygiene
It is an important aspect. Negligence can cause serious health outcomes for those who are ingesting food. Make sure to clean and wash hands before and during meal preparation. Germs can easily spread through hands so proper cleaning can help prevent food contamination.
2. Cleaning Cookware
Making sure proper cleaning and sanitizing is essential for food safety. It is also helpful in preventing food contamination. Germs can easily flourish and grow on surfaces such as utensils, cooking ware, shelf tops, and cutting board. Making sure to wash them before and after meal preparation is a way out to avoid food contamination.
It is important to handle different kinds of food accordingly as mishandling can cause food contamination. Storing food at certainly low temperature can inhibit the growth of pathogens including bacteria which can make food contaminated. It is recommended to store raw meat, dairy products at low temperatures.
4. Separate Raw And Cooked Food
Bacteria are commonly present in raw and uncooked food. This is why we cook food before consumption to get rid of such microorganisms. In order to prevent food contamination, it is essentially important to keep raw and cooked food separate. Drippings from raw meat and seafood can contaminate cooked food.
5. Rinse-Off Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an important ingredient of many salads. It is consumed in raw and cooked form. These may have chemical residuals and soil on them. It is very important to wash vegetables and fruits with water. Washing off vegetables and fruits can help avoid food contamination.
6. Alcohol With Meal
Research says that taking a small amount of alcohol can help prevent food contamination. Alcohol can kill parasites and germs before they reach the intestine. However, moderation is the key and excessive use can have serious health consequences. For those looking for a way out from addiction, many healthcare programs covering addiction treatment are available. They can help you improve your health.
7. Cooking To The Appropriate Temperature
Most of the time undercooked food becomes the cause of food poisoning. Under-cooked meat and eggs can cause bacterial infections. Make sure to cook the meat till no pink traces are left on it. It is an essential preventive measure.
8. Keep Insects And Pests Away
Insects and pests control is key hygiene care. It is very important as some insects and rodents are carriers of disease-causing pathogens. This also leads to a possible reason for food poisoning and infections in the body ingesting such food.
Food is a nutritional source but if contaminated can lead to a serious health condition of food poisoning. It can be mild and severe depending upon the cause and nature of the infection. Older people, young children, and pregnant women are more likely to get food poisoning. Some preventive measures can help to avoid food poisoning.