Food borne illness, also known as food poisoning, is the result of eating contaminated, spoiled, or toxic food.
- Any infectious organisms, including bacteria, viruses and parasites, or their toxins are the most common causes of food poisoning.
- Contamination can also occur at home during cooking or if left uncovered or not properly handled.
Symptoms of food poisoning:
- Such symptoms usually get treated with time and with healthy diet, but in case such serious symptoms, patient must show a doctor:
- Frequent episodes of vomiting and inability to keep any food
- Diarrhoea for more than three days
- Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping
- High fever may be higher than 101.5 F (38.6 C)
- Blurry vision, muscle weakness, tingling in the arms etc
Diagnosis of food poisoning:
Diagnosis can be done by knowing the symptoms and knowing about what the patient has eaten which has lead to food poisoning. But certain test can be done such as:
- Blood test- To determine the cause of poisoning may be virus or bacteria
- Stool test- to identify any infectious organism in the stool.
Causes of food poisoning:
Most of the food poisoning is caused by:
- Bacteria- it is most prevalent cause of food poisoning. Among them, dangerous bacteria like E.coli, listeria and salmonella may be the reason. Salmonella are the most dangerous one to cause serious food poisoning.
- Parasites- It is not so common as that of bacteria. Toxoplasma is the most often cause of food poisoning.
- Viruses- They are also the higher reason for food poisoning. Norovirus, Sapoviru or Astrovirus and the viruses who can cause the poisoning. Hepatitis A can be transmitted through food which can cause serious illness.
- Sometimes pathogens can also be the reason for food poisoning if the food in undercooked or eaten raw.
Risk factors of food poisoning:
Food poisoning can occur to every individual, but in case of a person to lower immunity, food poisoning can be frequent to them. Such as:
- Older adults- As getting older, the immune system get compromised and may not respond as quickly and as effectively to infectious organisms as to younger people.
- Pregnant women-During pregnancy, changes in metabolism and circulation may increase the risk of food poisoning.
- Infants and young children- As their immune systems are not fully developed, they can be more prone to food poisoning.
- People with chronic disease. Having a chronic condition – People with certain diseases such as AIDS, liver disease or undergoing chemotherapy or other therapy may be more risked to food poisoning.
Treatment of food poisoning:
Mostly food poisoning can be treated without any treatment, and by staying in a healthy diet.
- Diet to have during food poisoning
- saltine crackers
- chicken broth
- bland potatoes
- boiled vegetables
- diluted fruit juices
- sport drinks
- Caffeine should be avoided as it can irritate the digestive tract
- Certain over the counter medicines such as Imodium and Pepto-Bismol may be given to control diarrhoea and nausea
- Intravenous fluids must be taken to control dehydration.