Food poisoning symptoms vary with the source or sources of infection. Some of the signs and symptoms include watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting etc.
Food poisoning happens when you eat food infected with bacteria, parasites or virus. Or foods infected with their toxins. Food poisoning symptoms are also known as foodborne illness symptoms. The symptoms sometimes starts within hours of eating the infected food. Symptoms of food poisoning are often mild, requiring no treatment.
Causes Of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning causes happens when food become infected. This is as a result of the transfer of harmful organisms or their toxins from one surface to another (Cross-infection) during its production. Food poisoning becomes easier to get when the foods are raw such as salads. Since these are not cooked, any harmful organisms found in them are not destroyed before eating, which will lead to food poisoning.
Bacterial, parasitic and viral agents causing food poisoning.
Some of the possible organisms which cause food poisoning include the following:
- Clostridium botulinum. The foods often infected include home-canned foods with a low acidity level. Foods kept at warm temperature for long, smoked fishes, and salted fishes can also become contaminated. The onset of symptoms is about 12 to 72 hours.
- Clostridium perfringens. The foods often infected include; stews, meats. The onset of symptoms is about 8 to 16 hours.
- Campylobacter. Water, poultry, and meat are the usual contaminants. They become infected when the surface of the meat comes in contact with animal dung. The onset of symptoms is often 2 to 5 days.
- Shigella. Ready-to-eat foods, raw and sea foods are the usual contaminants. The food handler can spread the disease. The onset of symptoms is often 24 to 48 days.
- Escherichia coli (E. coli). Unpasteurized milk, uncooked beef that tainted with feces during slaughter, water are the usual contaminants. The onset of symptoms is often 1 to 8 days.
- Giardia lamblia. The usual infected food include; tainted water, raw foods, and ready-to-eat foods. The onset of symptoms is often 1 to 2 days.
- Hepatitis A. The usual contaminates include tainted shellfish, raw foods, ready-to-eat foods and also water. The food handler can spread the disease. The onset of symptoms is often within 28 days.
- Rotavirus. The usual contaminates include raw foods, ready-to-eat produce foods. The disease can be spread by the food handler. The onset of symptoms is often 1 to 2 days.
- Salmonella. Egg yolks, milk, raw food, meat. The food handler can taint the food. The onset of symptoms is often 1 to 3 days.
- Vibrio vulnificus.
- Staphylococcus aureus.
Food Poisoning Symptoms
Food poisoning symptoms include the following.
- Abdominal pain.
- Abdominal cramps.
- Watery diarrhea.
The signs and symptoms sometimes start within hours after eating the infected food. Or after some days or weeks.
When To Visit A Doctor
You should visit your doctor if you sense the following signs or symptoms of food poisoning:
- Extreme pain.
- Abdominal cramping.
- Frequent vomiting.
- Inability to keep liquids down.
- Diarrhea which lasts for more than 3 days.
- Bloody vomit.
- Bloody stool.
- An oral temperature which is higher than 101.5 F (38.6 C).
- Neurological symptoms which include; muscle weakness, tingling feeling in the arms, blurry sight.
Risk Factors Of Food Poisoning
Some of the high-risk groups which are more prone to getting food poisoning:
- Pregnant women
- Older adults
- People with chronic diseases
- Infants and young children
Complications Of Food Poisoning
One of the common drawbacks of food poisoning is dehydration.
They are also other types of food poisoning. They come with some really serious problems for certain people. These types of food poisoning include:
- Escherichia coli (E. coli). Some strains of E. coli is capable of causing serious problems like hemolytic uremic syndrome. This causes damage to the lining of the tiny blood vessels in the kidney, which may lead to kidney failure in some people. Persons with weak immune system, young children, and older adults also have a higher risk of developing this drawback.
- Listeria monocytogenes.Food poisoning can be caused by complications of listeria. And is usually most harsh for an unborn baby. A listeria infection in the early stage of pregnancy may lead to miscarriage, delayed maturing of the baby and even neurological damage.
Food Poisoning Treatments And Drugs
Treatment for food poisoning depends on the cause or source of the illness. And also on the rigor of the presenting symptoms. For most people, the illness resolves without drugs within a few days. Though some types of food poisoning may last longer.
Food poisoning treatment may include the following:
- Use of antibiotics. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the food poisoning symptoms are severe. Food poisoning which is as a result of listeria infection should be treated using intravenous antibiotics.
- Replacement of lost fluids and electrolytes. Important minerals that are lost as a result of persistent diarrhea and vomiting. Fluid replacements brings balance to the fluids in the body. Sodium, potassium, and calcium should be replaced either intravenously or other means to prevent dehydration.
Talk to your doctor about drugs such as:
- Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol).
- Loperamide (Imodium A-D).
These drugs can be taken by adults with diarrhea that is not bloody, and who have no fever to provide some relief.