Bacteria, viruses, pesticides, natural toxins, molds, parasites, and more can cause food poisoning. As there are so many types of food poisoning, there are many possible symptoms. People with chronic medical conditions or weak immune systems are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning, as are infants, young children, the elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions.
Symptoms of food poisoning
Symptoms of food poisoning can be anywhere from mild to very severe. Your symptoms may vary depending on the bacteria you swallowed. Following are some of the most common symptoms of food poisoning:
- Upset stomach
- Stomach cramps
How do you differentiate between food poisoning or stomach flu?
Food poisoning and the stomach flu may or may not be the same, depending on whether the agent is transmitted through contaminated food or if the agent is transmitted through non-food mechanisms such as bodily secretions. Most health professionals compare the stomach flu to viral gastroenteritis.
Stomach flu is a non-specific term that describes an illness that usually goes away within 24 hours and is commonly caused by adenovirus, Norwalk virus, or rotavirus (rotavirus is most common in children).
After connecting with Marham-Find a Doctor, you can consult a specialist doctor at any time. and get instant help.
If multiple cases of viral gastroenteritis occur in a situation where many people have eaten, it can certainly be considered food poisoning. Norwalk virus is responsible for many outbreaks of foodborne illness on cruise ships.
What kinds of contaminants cause food poisoning?
Food and water can be contaminated:
The main types of food poisoning
Food poisoning can be classified into more than 250 types. Among the most common causes are:
Undercooked poultry and raw eggs: Besides beef, pork, and vegetables, it can also appear in processed foods. Most food poisoning hospitalizations and deaths in the US are caused by Salmonella, the most common bacterial cause.
E. coli: Found in undercooked meat and raw vegetables, E. coli produces toxins that irritate the small intestine. It is a Shiga toxin that causes foodborne illness.
Listeria: Bacteria in soft cheeses, deli meats, hot dogs, and raw sprouts can cause listeriosis, which is especially dangerous for pregnant women.
Norovirus: You can get norovirus by eating undercooked shellfish, leafy greens, fresh fruit, or eating food prepared by a sick person. This is the virus most often associated with the stomach flu.
Hepatitis A: Viral hepatitis A can be spread through shellfish, fresh produce, or water and ice contaminated with feces. It is not a chronic infection like other hepatitis viruses, but it can affect your liver.
Staphylococcus aureus (staph): Staphylococcus infection occurs when people transfer staph bacteria from their hands to their food. Foods that are often implicated include meat, poultry, milk and milk products, salads, cream-filled pastries, and sandwich fillings. The effects of bacteria can be felt in many parts of the body.
Campylobacter: This common bacterial infection causing serious GI upset can persist for weeks. Undercooked poultry, meat or eggs, poorly processed meat, contaminated vegetables, and raw (unprocessed) milk or water sources are usually to blame. It is also spread by cross-contamination. The condition is generally spontaneous, causes bloody diarrhea, and is rarely fatal.
Shigella (shigellosis): Shigella bacteria are most often found in uncooked vegetables, crustaceans, and cream or mayonnaise salads (tuna, potatoes, macaroni, chicken).Because it can result in blood or mucus in your faeces, the infection is often referred to as bacillary dysentery.
Treatment of food poisoning
Food poisoning usually clears up on its own without further medical treatment. Still, you can practice the followings:
- It is important to drink plenty of fluids to replenish your system.
- In severe cases, fluids may be given and supplemented through an IV to prevent dehydration.
- Watch closely for signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth or sunken eyes.
- Some types of bacterial food poisoning may require antibiotics.
- For discomfort caused by gastroenteritis symptoms, individuals can take an over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication such as loperamide (Imodium) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol).
- An antiemetic such as chlorpromazine may also help symptoms.
After you’ve experienced food poisoning, eat foods that won’t further upset your gastrointestinal tract.
When to see a doctor
Although most bouts of food poisoning resolve themselves, some severe symptoms and serious complications can develop into a life-threatening illness.
If you experience any of the following serious symptoms, you must seek the advice of a healthcare provider immediately:
- Frequent vomiting and inability to retain fluids
- Vomiting blood
- Diarrhea for more than three days
- A high fever with a temperature of more than 100.4 F
- Extreme dehydration symptoms
- brain issues such as blurred vision, muscle weakness, and tingling
Prevention of food poisoning
Avoiding food poisoning includes four key components:
Cook: Ensure adequate heating time at the correct temperature to kill any bacteria that could cause gastroenteritis. It is useful to use a thermometer to test the cooked meat and to ensure the firmness of the yolks.
Separate: Separate foods to prevent cross-contamination, especially raw meat.
Cold: Cold storage slows the growth of harmful bacteria.
Net: Keep dishes and work surfaces clean and wash your hands often, especially before eating or touching your mouth and after handling raw meat or eggs.
In most cases, you can manage food poisoning at home by staying hydrated. It may lead to excessive loss of fluids through diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Staying hydrated is the most important thing you can do to support your body as it does its work.
Consult with the best gastroenterologist immediately in case of severe symptoms.
1. How long does food poisoning last?
The time it takes for symptoms to appear depends on the source of the infection, but it can range from as little as 30 minutes to as long as 8 weeks. The majority of symptoms resolve after a week, treatment or no treatment.
2. Is food poisoning contagious?
The infection can be passed from you to another person if they come into contact with your bacteria. The bacteria can be spread by tiny particles of vomit or feces left on surfaces or fingers and then transferred to food or another person’s mouth.
3. How is food poisoning diagnosed?
Your health care provider will ask you about your symptoms and what you have eaten and drunk recently. If you have unusual symptoms, they may want to take a stool sample or do a blood test to check for specific parasites or bacteria.