Food Poisoning – Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Food poisoning, also known as foodborne illnesses, refers to a condition in which one’s health is negatively impacted because his consumed food had come in contact with pathogens. Food poisoning is common, so much so that every person experiences it once or twice in his life.

When bacteria, parasites or viruses come onto the surface of foods, they become contaminated. Food, even water, can come in contact with these pathogens or their toxins at any stage of production and preparation. Typically, uncooked, raw foods carry the risk food poisoning because otherwise these pathogens are killed during the cooking process.

Symptoms Of Food Poisoning

The symptoms of food poisoning can vary based on the infectious pathogen that is behind the condition. Symptoms of foodborne illnesses may show within an hour or approximately in a month. Here are some common symptoms of food poisoning:

  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Mild fever

Usually, food poisoning is mild. However, sometimes symptoms can also land a person in the hospital and may even be potentially life-threatening. Some symptoms that show that the condition is severe include:

  • Severe fever
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days
  • Speaking or seeing difficulties
  • Blood in urine
  • Dehydration to the extent that the mouth gets dry and there’s little to no urine
  • Muscle tingling
  • Severe abdominal pain

Causes Of Food Poisoning

There can be one of three main culprits behind food poisoning. These include bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Commonly, food poisoning is caused due to bacteria. The bacteria strain that is typically responsible for it is salmonella.

There are even some lethal bacterium that can be a part of our foods. These include campylobacter and botulism. It is uncommon of food poisoning to occur due to parasites. However, this doesn’t mean that parasites in food aren’t dangerous. They can hide in the digestive system for years.

Side effects of parasites living in intestines are likely to show in the case of a pregnant woman or a person who has weak immunity. Last but not the least, we have viruses. Norovirus is a type that makes several people sick by living in their food. Hepatitis A virus is a health condition that can attack a person through food.

Treatment Options

Mild food poisoning goes away on its own within three to five days. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated and drink different healthy beverages including juices. However, avoid caffeine as it can irritate your digestive system.

Some over-the-counter medications may also be prescribed for soothing symptoms such as diarrhea and nausea. Moreover, take proper rest as well. In some cases, IVF fluids may be required, and hospitalization may become essential for recovery.

Take Home Message

Food poisoning is not uncommon. It occurs when one eats contaminated food. This food can be contaminated with bacteria, parasites or viruses. Bacteria is the most common cause of foodborne illnesses. Food poisoning is normally mild and subsides on its own with proper care. However, hospitalization may be required in some cases.