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What is Food Poisoning – Symptoms and Treatment of Food Poisoning

Food Poisoning

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is the name given to a disease that occurs as a result of food contaminated with various organisms or toxins entering the digestive system.
Infectious organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and their toxins are among the most common causes of food poisoning.

Infectious organisms or toxins can contaminate food at any point in the processing or production stages. Home contamination can also occur if food is improperly stored, prepared, used or cooked.

Symptoms of food poisoning that can begin within a few hours after eating contaminated food often include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Food poisoning is mild in most cases and goes away without treatment. However, in some cases it may be necessary to go to the hospital for medical assistance

What Causes Food Poisoning?

Contamination can occur at any point in the food preparation process, such as when they are grown, harvested, processed, stored, transported or prepared.

Food poisoning is often caused by cross contamination, which is the transport of harmful organisms from one surface to another. This is a common problem, especially with raw, ready-to-eat foods such as salads or other products.
Since these types of foods are not cooked separately, harmful organisms are not destroyed before eating and can cause food poisoning.

Many bacterial, parasitic, or viral agents cause food poisoning. Here are a few examples of names of possible types of contamination, time of onset of symptoms, symptoms and ways in which harmful organisms spread:

Campylobacter shows its symptoms within 2 to 5 days. It can be spread to meat and poultry. If animal excrement comes into contact with meat surfaces, contamination occurs during processing. Other sources include unpasteurized milk and contaminated water.
Clostridium botulinum shows its symptoms within 12 to 72 hours. It can be spread through low-acid, canned commercial food, smoked or salted fish, and other foods that have been kept warm for too long.

Clostridium perfringens shows its symptoms within 8 to 16 hours. It can be spread on meat, stews and broths. Foods that are not kept warm enough or that are slowly cooled during the meal are other common sources.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) shows symptoms within 1 to 8 days. It can be spread through beef contaminated with faeces during slaughter. It is mainly spread with undercooked ground beef. Other sources include unpasteurized milk and cider, and contaminated water.
Giardia lamblia shows its symptoms within 1 to 2 weeks. It can be spread with raw, ready-to-eat products and contaminated water.
Shows hepatitis A symptoms within 28 days. It can be spread through raw, ready-to-eat products and shellfish derived from contaminated water.
Listeria shows its symptoms within 9 to 48 hours. It can spread on hot dogs, delicatessen products, unpasteurized milk, cheese and unwashed raw products. It can be spread by contaminated soil and water.
Noroviruses (Norwalk-like viruses) show their symptoms within 12 to 48 hours. It can be spread through contaminated water, raw, ready-to-eat products, and shellfish.
Shows rotavirus symptoms within 1-3 days. It can be spread with raw or ready-to-eat products.
Salmonella shows its symptoms within 1 to 3 days. It can be spread through raw or contaminated meat, poultry, milk or egg yolk. Insufficient cooking can be avoided without being affected, so undercooking should be avoided when preparing food. It can also be spread through unhygienically cleaned kitchen utensils such as knives, cutting surfaces or infected food.
Shigella shows its symptoms within 24 to 48 hours. It can be spread with seafood and raw, ready-to-eat products.
Staphylococcus aureus shows its symptoms within 1 to 6 hours. It can be spread to meats and prepared salads, creamy sauces and cream-filled pastries. It can also be transmitted through hand contact, coughing and sneezing.
Vibrio Vulnificus shows its symptoms within 1 to 7 days. It can be spread with raw oysters, raw or undercooked mussels, or seawater.

Factors that determine whether an individual will become ill after eating contaminated food include the type of organism causing the contamination, the amount of exposure, the age of the individual, and overall health.

Accordingly, in older adults, the immune system may not respond to infectious organisms as quickly and effectively as it did at a young age. Because the immune systems of infants and young children are not fully developed, exposure rates may be higher.

Changes in metabolism and circulation during pregnancy can increase the risk of food poisoning. The individual’s immune system response may be more severe during pregnancy. Rarely, the disease can also affect the fetus.

Individuals with a chronic condition such as diabetes, liver disease, or AIDS, or undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer may have a slowed immune response.

What Are The Complications That Can Be Encountered In Food Poisoning?

The most common serious complications during food poisoning are dehydration, dehydration, minerals and salts. Dehydration should not be a problem if healthy individuals consume enough fluids to recover those lost from vomiting and diarrhea.

However, infants, older adults, and people with immunocompromised or chronic illnesses can become severely dehydrated when they lose more fluid than they can replenish. If this happens, they may need to be hospitalized and receive intravenous fluids. In extreme cases, dehydration can have fatal consequences.

Some types of food poisoning can potentially lead to serious complications for some people:

Listeria infection: The complications of Listeria food poisoning can be very severe for an unborn baby. Listeria infection that occurs in early pregnancy can result in miscarriage. Listeria infection that occurs later in pregnancy can lead to premature birth, stillbirth, or a potentially fatal infection in the newborn baby, even if the mother is mildly ill. Babies who survive Listeria infection may experience neurological damage and delay in development with long-term effects.
Escherichia coli (E. coli): Some strains of E. coli can damage the lining of small blood vessels in the kidneys, causing a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which in some cases leads to kidney failure. The likelihood of this complication is higher in children younger than 5 years old, older adults, or individuals with a weakened immune system. Individuals in these risk categories should see a doctor at the first sign of excessive or bloody diarrhea.

How to Prevent Food Poisoning?

Households should wash their hands, kitchen utensils, and food preparation surfaces frequently to prevent food poisoning at home.

It is imperative to wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least twenty seconds before using or preparing food. Hot, soapy water will be sufficient to wash dishes, cutting boards and other surfaces used for food preparation.

Raw foods should be kept separate from ready-to-eat foods. Keeping raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish away from other food types while shopping, preparing or storing food can prevent cross contamination.

It is important to fully cook food at a safe temperature. The best way to keep track of this may be to use a food thermometer.

By cooking food at the right temperature, it is possible to destroy harmful organisms in most foods and render them harmless. Until the internal temperature of beef reaches at least 71.1 C; Steak and chopped products, such as lamb and veal, until the internal temperature reaches at least 62.8 ° C; It is also important to cook poultry such as chicken and a core temperature of at least 73.9 ° C. Make sure the fish and shellfish are cooked thoroughly.

After purchasing or preparing perishable food, it is necessary to immediately refrigerate or freeze it within two hours. If the room temperature where the food is located is above 32.2 C, it is necessary to cool perishable food within one hour.

Frozen food should not be defrosted at room temperature. The safest way to defrost frozen food is to defrost it in the refrigerator. If frozen food is to be defrosted using the microwave’s “defrost” or 50% power setting option, it must be cooked immediately.

If you are unsure whether a food is safely prepared, served or stored, it should not be consumed and should be discarded. Foods that remain at room temperature for too long may contain bacteria or toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.

Unsure food should be tasted and simply discarded to understand its safety. Even if it looks and smells good, it may not be safe to eat.

Food poisoning can have serious and potentially life-threatening consequences, especially for young children, pregnant women and their fetuses, older adults and people with compromised immune systems.

These people should avoid or take extra precautions when consuming the following foods:

Soft cheeses such as feta and unpasteurized cheeses
Raw or undercooked oysters and shellfish such as mussels or fish
Raw or undercooked red or white meat
Doughs containing raw or undercooked eggs
Homemade ice cream
Raw sprouts such as bean sprouts or cabbage
Unpasteurized fruit juices
Unpasteurized milk and dairy products
Uncooked sausages, sausages and similar delicatessen meats
Chilled potato and meat dishes.

What Are the Symptoms and Types of Food Poisoning?

Symptoms of food poisoning vary depending on the source and type of contamination. Common symptoms of most food poisoning
Abdominal pain and cramps,
Nausea and
There is watery or bloody diarrhea.
While these signs and symptoms can begin within hours of eating contaminated food, in some cases they can begin days or even weeks later. The illness caused by food poisoning usually lasts from a few hours to a few days.

In cases where food poisoning is suspected, people with signs and symptoms listed below should seek medical attention at a medical center:

Intraoral temperature higher than 38.4 ° C
Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramps
Signs of dehydration or dehydration, such as extreme thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness and lightheadedness
Neurological symptoms such as blurred vision, muscle weakness, and tingling in the arms
Bloody vomiting or stools
Frequent episodes of vomiting and being unable to drink or
Signs and symptoms such as diarrhea lasting more than three days.

How Is Food Poisoning Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of food poisoning is made based on the individual’s nutritional history. The doctor asks a variety of questions about the person’s illness, the symptoms they are observing, and the food they ate. He or she will then perform a physical exam to detect any signs of dehydration.
Depending on the individual’s symptoms and health history, diagnostic tests such as a blood test, stool culture, or parasite exam may be necessary to determine the exact cause of food poisoning and confirm the diagnosis.

The sample taken for the stool test will be sent to a laboratory where the infectious organism will be identified. In rare cases, the cause of food poisoning may not be determined.

How Is Food Poisoning Treated?

Treatment for food poisoning typically depends on the source of the disease and the severity of symptoms seen in the individual, if known. In most cases, the disease resolves spontaneously within a few days without treatment, but some cases of food poisoning may take longer and require treatment.
The most important step in the process of food poisoning is to recover the lost fluid and electrolytes from minerals such as sodium, potassium and calcium that protect the body’s fluid balance in order to reduce the effect of dehydration, which usually affects the body due to prolonged diarrhea.
Especially children, immunocompromised individuals and older adults may need to be hospitalized so that they can receive salts and fluids intravenously to prevent or treat dehydration in cases of prolonged diarrhea and vomiting.

In cases where food poisoning is caused by a specific type of bacteria or severe symptoms are seen, antibiotics may be prescribed by the doctor. During the hospitalization period caused by food poisoning caused by Listeria, the individual should be treated with antibiotics given intravenously.
The sooner the treatment is started, the more effective it will be. During pregnancy, prompt antibiotic treatment can help prevent infection from affecting the baby.

Antibiotics are only effective for bacterial-induced food poisoning and do not help food poisoning caused by viruses. Conversely, antibiotics can worsen symptoms in some viral or even bacterial food poisoning, for which they are not effective. For this reason, antibiotics should not be used without a doctor’s recommendation.

Lifestyle Changes And Home Care Against Food Poisoning

In most cases, food poisoning resolves spontaneously and without the need for treatment within 48 hours. The patient can take various steps to keep himself more comfortable and to prevent dehydration during the healing process.

Illness and dehydration will weaken and tire the individual. For this reason, it is necessary to take time to rest.

Stopping eating and drinking for a few hours can calm the stomach. It has been observed that sucking on broken ice chips or drinking water in small sips can be beneficial against dehydration.

However, transparent soda types, broths and decaffeinated sports drinks have also been found to be beneficial. Oral rehydration solutions may also be effective in case of severe signs of dehydration or diarrhea. Under normal conditions, the urine of individuals who drink enough fluid should be close to transparent.

The doctor may recommend the use of probiotics according to the symptoms of food poisoning, but it is necessary to consult a doctor before using probiotics.

It has been observed that it is more beneficial for the individual to return to eat slowly. While it is considered appropriate to start with dry crackers, light toasts, low-fat and easy-to-digest foods such as banana or rice, the meal should be stopped when the nausea returns.

Certain foods and substances should be avoided until you are sure that all symptoms have completely cleared and harmful substances have been completely removed from the body. These include dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and fatty or very spicy foods.

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