What is Food Poisoning Edit

Food poisoning, also referred to as foodborne illness, is an illness caused from consuming contaminated foods. Infectious organisms - bacteria, viruses, and parasites - or their toxins are the most common causes of food poisoning. These infectious organisms obtain the ability to contaminate the food at any point of processing or production. Contamination can also occur if food is incorrectly handled, cooked, or improperly stored, such as inadequate refrigeration or touching food with unclean hands or machinery. There are many different kinds of food poisoning. The four most common types of food poisoning are the following: Campylobacter Jejuni, Cronobacter, Hepatitis A and E, Salmonella.

Campylobacter Jejuni:

Campylobacter jejuni bacteria are typically found in the intestines of animals, such as chickens, cows, pigs, rodents, wild birds, and household pets. Animals and humans can catch C. jejuni. The most common way of getting this disease is by eating contaminated food. You may get the disease from undercooked meat, raw milk, raw vegetables, and shellfish. The symptoms of C. jejuni are:

-          Diarrhea

-          Abdominal pain

-          Fever

-          Nausea

-          Vomiting


Cronobater is found in the environment. Humans are rarely infected with this, but when they are it can be fatal. Cronobacter causes bloodstream and nervous system infections. People are infected by this through powder infant formulas. People get infected when the formula is contaminated when the giver is mixing it. The symptoms of Cronobacter are:

-          Inflammation of the brain lining

-          Blood poisoning

-          Intestinal infection

-          Seizures 

Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be infectious and non-infectious. Only Hepatitis A can be transferred through water and food. You can get it by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water, or by touching infected waste. It can last from 3 weeks to seven months. The symptoms of Hepatitis A are:

-          Fever

-          Loss of apatite

-          Stomach cramps

-          Yellow skin and eyes

-          Dark urine

-          Fatigue


Salmonella is most commonly found in the intestines of animals, reptiles, and birds. Salmonella can be found in poultry, beef, milk, or eggs. However, foods like vegetables can still be contaminated. This disease is most common in the summer. The most common ways of getting salmonella are through undercooked meat, raw eggs, homemade mayonnaise, ice cream, frostings, pet treats, and fish. You can also get it by not washing fruits and vegetables, not washing your hands after touching raw meat, and not washing your hands after touching reptiles. The symptoms of salmonella are:

-          Fever

-          Chills

-          Diarrhea

-          Abdominal cramps

-          Headaches

-          Nausea

-          Vomiting

How does Food Poisoning Affect the Digestive System

Food poisoning symptoms occur when food-borne bacteria release toxins or poisons as a byproduct of their growth in the body. These toxins cause inflammation of the stomach lining and the small and/or large intestines, resulting in abdominal muscle cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. The severity of symptoms depends on the type of bacteria, the amount consumed, and the individual's general health and sensitivity to the toxin. Dehydration can result from loss of fluids through persistent vomiting and diarrhea; it is one of the most frequent and serious complications of food poisoning.  


Signs and Symptoms Edit

The type of signs and symptoms and their severity depend on the cause of the food poisoning, the amount of contaminated  food consumed, and the health of the individual. Signs and symptoms usually begin to develop anywhere within 1 – 48 hours after eating contaminated food. Sickness caused by food poisoning can last a few hours or even up to several days. Most types of food poisoning cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms: 

·      Nausea

·      Vomiting
·      Watery diarrhea

·      Abdominal pain and cramps

·      Fever

·      Loss of appetite

·      Difficulty breathing

·      Trouble swallowing

·      Weakness and fatigue

·      Double vision

·      Trouble moving parts of your body

·      Headaches [1]

If an individual experiences the following signs and symptoms, they are highly recommended to consult a medical professional:

·      Frequent vomiting and inability to keep liquids down

·      Bloody vomit or stools

·      Diarrhea for more than three days

·      Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping

·      A temperature higher than 101.5 F

·      Dehydration — excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness

·      Neurological symptoms such as blurry vision, muscle weakness, and tingling in the arms

Diagnosis Edit

Food poisoning is often diagnosed based on a detailed history, including how long you've been sick, your symptoms, and specific foods you've consumed. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam, looking for signs of dehydration.

Depending on your symptoms and health history, your doctor may conduct diagnostic tests, such as a blood test, stool culture, or examination for parasites - to identify the cause and confirm the diagnosis.

For a stool culture, your doctor will send a sample of your stool to a laboratory, where a technician will try to identify the infectious organism. If an organism is found, your doctor likely will notify your local health department to determine if the food poisoning is linked to an outbreak.

In some cases, the cause of food poisoning can't be identified.

Treatment Edit

The main goal of treatment for food poisoning is to prevent the individual from becoming dehydrated. A loss of 20% of a person’s body fluid is fatal, and 10-15% is serious. When being diagnosed with food poisoning, enormous amounts of both water and electrolytes can be lost quite rapidly. Vomiting and diarrhea in infants and young children require especially prompt professional treatment, because small children have a higher tendency to become dehydrated quickly.

Mild cases of food poisoning can usually be treated at home, especially if they are not accompanied by a fever. Dehydration in infants and children can be prevented or treated by giving them oral rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte, Infalyte, Naturalyte, Ora-lyte, or Rehydralyte. These are available in superstores and pharmacies and do not require a prescription. Oral rehydration solutions have the proper balance of salts and sugars in order to restore and replenish fluid and electrolyte balance. They can be given to young children in small sips as soon as vomiting and diarrhea start. Children may continue to vomit and have diarrhea, but some of the fluid will be absorbed.

Older children and adults who are dehydrated can be given oral rehydration solutions or sports drinks such as Gatorade. Adults and older children diagnosed with food poisoning should avoid drinking substances such as tea, coffee, and soft drinks, especially soft drinks that contain caffeine, as these liquids stimulate dehydration.

Over-the-counter medications to stop or slow diarrhea such as Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, or Imodium will not shorten the duration of the disease, but may give the individual some control over his or her bowels. Consult a physician before giving these over-the-counter medicines to children.

Individuals of all ages who are seriously dehydrated need to be treated promptly by a medical professional. In the case of severe dehydration, the individual may be hospitalized and fluids are given intravenously (IV; directly into the vein). Drugs may also be prescribed to stop persistent vomiting. Although bacteria cause many cases of food poisoning, antibiotics are not routinely used in treatment.

Individuals, who believe that their food poisoning symptoms are caused by chemicals or natural toxins, should seek emergency medical care immediately. These types of food poisoning require assistance from a medical professional in order to treat the infection.



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