Food poisoning is a medical condition that occurs when you ingest or swallow food or water that has been contaminated with germs or toxins, viruses, bacteria, or parasites. One of the most common types of bacteria in foods that can cause food poisoning is called E. coli. Anyone who eats the contaminated food or drinks the water with these bacteria can get food poisoning, though for each person it may vary in severity. The treatment usually involves waiting it out until the food poisoning is gone as it is a temporary condition.
Causes of Food Poisoning
It is known that food poisoning can affect a person of any age, gender, or race as long as they ate the contaminated food, though it may not affect everyone in the same way. Germs and bacteria affect foods in different ways such as meat or poultry that can come into contact with bacteria during the processing, water used for shipping animal or human waste can be contaminated by the bacteria, or it can be spread to food and water from food handling and preparation at restaurants or grocery stores. People get food poisoning from the food if the preparer did not wash their hands properly or when cooking utensils and cutting boards are not cleaned. Germs and bacteria such as E. coli, fish poisoning, cholera, campylobacter enteritis, staphylococcus aureus, salmonella, and shigella can cause food poisoning. Elderly and infants are a greater risk for food poisoning.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
The symptoms of food poisoning typically start about 2-6 hours after eating the contaminated food. They include nausea and vomiting, weakness, fever and chills, headache, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping. These symptoms can range between mild and severe depending on the type of bacteria, the individual, and how much of the contaminated food they ate.
Diagnosing and Treating Food Poisoning
Diagnosing food poisoning involves performing a physical examination and checking for other signs such as doing stool tests and checking for dehydration. More severe cases may require a test called a sigmoidoscopy. Food poisoning is usually gone within a couple days and during these days you should try to keep down as many fluids as possible. Treatment involves hydrating and drinking plenty of fluids, controlling the nausea and vomiting, controlling the diarrhea, and getting plenty of rest. Resting is vital for getting over food poisoning or life is going to be very difficult if you’re trying to attend work or school.