Food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness, is illness or food infection caused by eating contaminated food. Infectious organisms - including food bacteria, viruses and parasites - or their toxins are the most common causes of food poisoning. Because of the increasing cases of food poisoning, the doctors have discovered various food poisoning medicines as well as food poisoning treatments. The Doctors have also mentioned certain food poisoning symptoms and food poisoning causes which would be very helpful for people.
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What Is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning is when someone gets sick from eating food or drink that has gone bad or is contaminated. There are two kinds of poisoning i.e. poisoning by a toxic agent or by an infectious agent. It is caused when the food contains food bacteria or other microbes which infect the body after it is eaten. Food intoxication is caused when the food contains toxins, including bacterially produced exotoxins, which can happen even when the microbe that produced the toxin is no longer present or able to cause infection.
Even though it is called food poisoning, most cases are caused by a variety of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, prions or parasites that contaminate food, rather than chemical or natural toxins which are usually known as a poison. The most common food poisoning symptoms and signs are vomiting and diarrhoea. Food poisoning symptoms sometimes depend on which organ system the poison effects. For instance, the neurological system may be altered by neurotoxins like pesticides and botulinum toxin. Food poisoning can be severe and even deadly for some individuals.
Home Remedies for Food Poisoning
Food Poisoning is caused primarily by the improper and unhygienic handling of food, which can breed and spread harmful bacteria. When you are suffering from food poisoning, your body is likely to lose more water than normal. Hence Consuming a good intake of fluids and avoiding solid food becomes the initial part of the action. Rather than rushing to a doctor immediately, you can start the treatment at home with some ready ingredients that could be found in your kitchen. Here are fast acting home remedies that can stop a bout of food poisoning in its tracks.
For thousands of years, ginger has been used for the treatment of innumerable ailments due to its powerful therapeutic and preventive effects. Ginger improves absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients and aids in digestion. Hence it works as a quick remedy for nausea and vomiting which is a primary symptom of food poisoning, thereby giving you instant relief. To use this remedy, make some ginger tea by boiling one teaspoon grated ginger with a cup of water for a few minutes, add a little sugar or honey to it for sweetness.
Apple cider vinegar
Though acidic in nature, apple cider vinegar has an alkaline effect due to the way it is metabolised in the body. Thus, it can alleviate various food poisoning symptoms. For this quick fix, just mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of hot water and drink it before eating your food.
The anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial properties in lemon gives relief to food poisoning. The acid in lemons helps kill bacteria that cause food poisoning. Just add a pinch of sugar to one teaspoon of lemon juice and drink it two to three times a day.
Garlic is very effective in fighting food poisoning due to its strong antiviral and antifungal properties. It also relieves symptoms such as diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Eat one fresh garlic clove, swallowing it with water.
Cumin seeds also called jeera, can ease abdominal discomfort and stomach inflammation due to food poisoning. For instant relief try this, Boil one teaspoon of cumin seeds in one cup of water. Drink it twice or thrice a day.
Food Poisoning Symptoms
If you have food poisoning, chances are it won't go undetected. Symptoms can vary depending on the source of the infection. The length of time it takes for symptoms to appear also depends on the source of the infection, but it can range from as little as 1 hour to as long as 28 days. Common cases of food poisoning will typically include at least three of the following symptoms :
‣ Abdominal cramps
‣ Loss of appetite
‣ Mild fever
Symptoms of potentially life-threatening food poisoning include :
‣ Diarrhoea persisting for more than 3 days
‣ A fever higher than 101.5 degree Celsius
‣ Difficulty seeing or speaking
‣ Symptoms of severe dehydration
‣ Bloody urine
Food Poisoning Causes
Food Poisoning occurs when food contamination or contaminated food is ingested. Contamination can occur anywhere along the process of obtaining and eating food. Here are some causes of food poisoning.
Bacteria and Bacterial toxins
Many bacteria can cause food poisoning either directly or by the toxins they produce. Some of the most common include salmonella, e.coli, shigella etc. Many bacterial causes of food poisoning can be found in undercooked meats, poultry, eggs as well as in contaminated water.
Norovirus and other viruses can cause food poisoning, most commonly through contaminated raw or uncooked produce and shellfish from contaminated water.
Mushrooms and Toadstools
Dozens of species can cause muscarine poisoning. These poison attack the central nervous system, causing partial or complete paralysis in severe cases.
Some fish like the puffer fish are naturally poisonous. A poison similar to that naturally found in the puffer fish can also occur in many edible Caribbean and Pacific species. This type of poison attacks the nervous system.
Food Poisoning Treatment
The treatment of food poisoning depends on the cause and its severity. Most bacterial food poisonings do not need antibiotics, but some type of infections may need it. For food poisoning that cause nervous system effects, there may be other medications or antidotes that can be used. For instance in mushroom poisoning, a food poisoning medicine called atropine can be used to counterattack toxic effects. Caffeine should be avoided which may irritate the digestive tract. Over-the-counter food poisoning medicines such as Imodium and Pepto Bismol can help control diarrhoea and suppress nausea. It's also important for those with food poisoning to get plenty of rest. In severe cases of food poisoning, individuals may require hydration with intravenous fluids at a hospital.
Since Food Poisoning although not considered very seriously, can lead to the death of an individual, basic precautions like washing hands before cooking or eating food etc. must be taken to avoid food poisoning.