Food poisoning or food-borne illness is a disease caused by contaminated food or water. Contamination may occur due to some bacteria, virus, parasites or toxins. Food can be contaminated at any stage from processing to production by infectious organisms. Contamination may also occur during cooking or not preserving raw food well at home. The disease is usually mild that can be cured at home, but sometime it becomes serious. It generally occurs by eating non-hygienic food, eating at picnics, functions, college or school canteens, etc.
The symptoms of food poisoning vary with the type of contamination, but some major symptoms are:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Loose diarrhea
Symptoms appear within 3 to 6 hours after eating contaminated food, or in some cases it may begin some days or weeks later.
The disease might occur due to one of the following reasons:
- Food prepared with unclean hands
- Using unhygienic utensils, cutting boards, etc. during cooking
- Using dairy products that have expired
- Eating raw fruits or vegetables not washed properly
- Eating raw meat or fish
- Using contaminated water for cooking food, etc.
Food poisoning occurs due to certain viruses, bacteria, parasites, or toxins and some more common contaminants are listed below:
- Clostridium Botulinium
- E. coli enteritis
- Clostridium perfringens
- Giardia lamblia
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Shigella, etc.
These contaminants may enter your food through:
- Contaminated water that is used for growing food
- Cross-contamination that is the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to other
- Unhygienic conditions of preserving food at home.
Children and elderly people are at higher risk of suffering from food poisoning, and some other risk groups include:
- People suffering from chronic diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes, etc.
- Pregnant women as during pregnancy there is an evident changes in metabolism and circulation.
- People with weak immune system such as older people and infants.
In most of the cases, the patient recovers from the disease within a week resting back at home. If you`re suffering from food poisoning remember to follow below jotted tips:
- Stop taking solid food until diarrhea stops. Avoid dairy products as they may make your condition even worse.
- Drink plenty of fluids other than milk and caffeine beverages to raise the water level to its required amount.
- Use electrolyte solution to restore the salt concentration in your body.
- If illness continues for long, consult your doctor for some immediate relief.
Deal with the illness carefully and take some precautions to avoid some major risks. The best way to avoid food poisoning is eating well cooked and hygienic food.