Food poisoning

Mouth | Gastroenterology | Food poisoning (Disease)


Most food-borne illnesses are caused by eating food containing certain types of bacteria or viruses.

Unfortunately, most cases of food poisoning mimic gastroenteritis, and many people with mild cases of food poisoning think they have the stomach flu.

However, the onset of symptoms is usually very sudden and abrupt, often within hours of eating the contaminated food. The following are the most common symptoms of food poisoning. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

(1) abdominal distention and gas

(2) abdominal cramps

(3) watery and/or bloody diarrhea

(4) fever

(5) nausea and vomiting

(6) headache

Causes and Risk factors

A person with food poisoning has inflammation of the stomach and intestines, caused by the ingestion of a bacterial toxin that is present in contaminated food or water.

Food contamination is not just limited to foods you may consider risky, such as chicken or fish. Prepared fruits, vegetables and salads can also be potentially dangerous. Contaminated food will usually look, smell and taste normal. Food poisoning bacteria can grow and multiply on some types of food more easily than others.

Good hygiene practices before, during, and after food preparation can reduce the chances of contracting an illness.

Typically most food borne diseases cause vomiting and diarrhea that tend to be short lived and resolve on their own, but dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities may develop.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Tests, such as blood tests and and body chemistry abnormalities, to determine the cause of the food poisoning are performed.

Therapy depends on the severity of the symptoms and the organism causing the food poisoning. Treatment may include: oral re-hydration therapy, intravenous fluids, anti nausea medications, antibiotics or anti-parasite medications. Most cases of bacterial poisoning dont require antibiotics. First aid consists of drinking plenty of fluids, sports drinks contain both sugar and electrolytes and are a good choice. ...

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