Food Poisoning – Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors and Food Poisoning Prevention

Food poisoning is a foodborne illness mainly occurs when we eat contaminated food or drink contaminated water. Food poisoning is also known as a foodborne illness by bacteria or other toxins in food normally with vomiting and diarrhea.

Causes of Food Poisoning:

Foods and water contaminated by poisonous substances are the main cause of food poisoning. Some of these substances naturally remain in food and some of them are produced because of the environment. Most of the poisonous substances for food poisoning are:

• Bacteria: Some 250 Bacteria are responsible for Food Poisoning. Among the E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella are most dangerous.

• Viruses: The virus is another cause for Food Poisoning. Virus-like Hepatitis A can create a serious Food Poisoning while Sapo virus, Rotavirus, and Astrovirus are less common.

• Parasites: Parasites are less common but a dangerous cause for Food Poisoning. Toxoplasma is the most common parasite for Food Poisoning.

• Different Types of Food Poisoning: People may be affected by different types of foodborne illness, but all of them have not serious complications. Some types of food poisoning have a serious effect on human health like:

• Listeria monocytogenes: It is very dangerous for pregnant women and for an unborn baby. In early pregnancy, listeria may cause miscarriage. And in later pregnancy, this infection may result in stillbirth, premature birth. If the infants survive, they may suffer from long-term neurological damage.

• Escherichia coli (E. coli): E. coli develops a serious illness named hemolytic uremic syndrome. Sometimes this syndrome may lead to kidney failure by damaging the lining of the tiny blood vessels in the kidney. Children, younger adults and people having a weak immune system are at high risk for this syndrome.

The Contamination Process of Food:

Sometimes few bacteria naturally found in food but most often food is contaminated because of a rough environment.

Food can be contaminated –

During any stage of production because of the unhealthy production process.
During the transportation because of the unwanted environmental condition.
At home when someone cooks food without washing hand.
By keeping together the raw food and ready to eat foods such as fruits.
When we use dirty dishes for cooking and serving food.

Food Poisoning Symptoms:

Food Poisoning has some common and easily detectable symptoms. But the time period of developing the symptoms varies based on the organisms that contaminate the food. It can take a few hours to several days. The most common symptoms are:

• Vomiting
• Nausea
• Diarrhea
• Stomach pain and cramps
• A headache
• Fever
• Indigestion
• Blood in stool

Symptoms of Serious Food Poisoning which may cause to death are:

• Diarrhea that remains more than 3 days.
• Blood in vomit or stool.
• Severe fever (more than 101 F)
• Severe dehydration.

If anyone undergoes through any of these symptoms he/she should visit a doctor.

Risk Factors of Food Poisoning:

1. Infant and Children:

Food Poisoning is most dangerous for infants and young people as their immune system not properly built up.

2. Old People:

When people get old the immune system doesn’t work properly. Because of this, old people quickly get sick from contaminated food.

3. Pregnant Women:

Food Poisoning may have severe effect during pregnancy, because, at this time women face some metabolism and circulation changes. In a few cases, it may harm the baby too.

4. People having autoimmune diseases:

Autoimmune diseases such as, diabetes, liver disease etc. It reduces our immune response which increases the risk of a foodborn illness.

Food Poisoning Complications:

Most of the time foodborne illness are simply cure with little medical treatment or after taking rest at home but sometimes it has some serious long-term effects, such as:

Dehydration:
One of the most common complications of Food Poisoning is dehydration when the body loses lots of water, essential salts and minerals. When people cannot replace the fluids which they lost, they should immediately contact the doctor.

Kidney Failure:
Another complication of food poisoning is kidney failure. Food poisoning sometimes creates Hemolytic-uremic syndrome illness. This illness produces infection in the liver and also in other parts of a digestive system. This infection destroys red blood cells and releases harmful toxins. These harmful toxins damage our kidneys, which can create serious kidney failure. This syndrome is mainly dangerous for young children.

Brain Damage:
Sometimes food poisoning leads to contraction of membranes. Such contraction may develop retardation, seizures, paralysis deafness or blindness.

Arthritis:
Chronic arthritis is an after effect of the foodborne disease. This can last from weeks to years, sometimes for a lifetime.

Death:
Food poisoning becomes the cause of death when another serious illness develops from it. When people don’t take proper treatment during serious foodborne illnesses it would be a cause for death. Severe dehydration is also a culprit for death.

In most of the cases, food poisoning brings round with little treatment or without any medical treatment, but it should not take lightly. It is very important to contact with the doctor when any symptoms of foodborne illness bring out, especially when you have bloody stool or vomit and severe dehydration you must take medications.

Food Poisoning Prevention:

Food poisoning may prevent by taking some easy steps. If you follow the steps most of the cases you can prevent foodborne illness.

Always wash your hands before cooking, and after touching raw food such as meat, fish etc.

Properly clean your dishes and plates before using them.
Seal, freeze and store raw food properly.
Keep raw food and ready to eat food separately.
Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
Cook food to a safe temperature for each food like cook beef to 160℉, chicken and turkey to 165℉, the lamp to at least 145℉.
If there is any doubt about the purity of food just through it out.
Don’t eat a wild mushroom, it may be poisonous.
Don’t consume so much large fish and meat.
Make sure that your hands are clean when you are with your children.
Be conscious of your food habit during pregnancy.

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