What is Food Poisoning? Emergency Care for Food Poisoning

Food poisoning happens when you have food or water that is contaminated with parasites, bacteria, or toxins produced by these germs. Staphylococcus and E. coli are the common bacteria that cause food poisoning. Food poisoning can affect anyone and everyone who eats contaminated food. Food can be contaminated in many ways.

Food Poisoning Causes:

  • Foods that are prepared unhygienically at restaurants or even at home.
  • Prepared by someone who does not wash their hands properly.
  • Cooking utensils, cutting boards, and other tools used are not fully clean.
  • Frozen foods are not stored at the right temperature or are not reheated properly.
  • Raw meat or fish.
  • Fruits or vegetables that have not been cleaned properly.
  • Unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Undercooked meats or eggs.
  • Unclean water from the river, well, or tap water that has not been treated.

Bacteria or germs that can cause food poisoning:

  • E.coli enteritis
  • Campylobacter enteritis
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella

What is Food Poisoning

Food Poisoning Symptoms:

Symptoms generally begin to appear within a couple of hours after having the contaminated food. The time period may vary, depending on the cause. The common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Fever, chills

Food Poisoning

Who are at Risk?

  • Anyone eating contaminated food can be affected by it.
  • The very young and the very old are at the greatest risk for food poisoning.
  • People suffering from kidney disease or diabetes.
  • People with poor immunity levels.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be extra careful to avoid food poisoning.

Food Poisoning Diagnosis:

Test of the stools.
Test the food you have eaten to find out the bacteria that is causing the symptoms. However, tests may not always find the cause of diarrhea.

Food Poisoning Treatment:

If you have an adequate amount of fluids and rest, you would recover within a couple of days.

  • Avoid dehydration by having lots of fluids.
  • Drink oral rehydration mixture to replace fluids and minerals lost due to vomiting and diarrhea.
  • If you suffer from diarrhea and are not able to drink fluids, you should visit a hospital, where you would be given fluids through IV. Generally, young children are given fluids by IV.
  • Control nausea and vomiting by sipping soda or other fluids. Avoid solid foods, especially, the ones that are fried, spicy, or sweet. Have light or bland food items.
  • Take medicine for diarrhea only if your doctor prescribes it.
  • Get plenty of rest.

Oral Rehydration Mixture:

Make your own oral rehydration mixture by mixing a half-teaspoon of salt and 4 tablespoons of sugar in one liter of water. Make sure that the water is safe.

When to See a Doctor:

Contact the doctor immediately, if you have:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Reduced urine output or highly colored urine
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry skin
  • Altered mental status
  • Extreme weakness
  • High fever
  • You are not being able to take fluids orally
SOURCE: B-Positive Health Magazine

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