Food poisoning is not having a person intentionally lacing another person’s food with an agent meant to cause harm. A significant number of people shiver at the mention of these terms and what floods people’s mind minds is malicious activity and cause unnecessary panic.
Here are the facts about food poisoning;
In definition, food poisoning is a health disorder caused by ingestion of food contaminated by harmful organisms such as viruses or bacteria. It is also known as food-borne illness. The symptoms of poisoning may emerge minutes after one consumes food or may take weeks to manifest. Again, the illness may either last a few hours or some days depending on the cause.
The most common bacteria associated with this disorder are Campylobacter, Salmonella spp, Listeria, Shigella, and E. coli. The rotavirus and norovirus are known causes too.
The following are the light symptoms associated with food poisoning:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Nausea after eating food
- Fever, and
Complex symptoms include:
- Elevated body temperature of up to 39 degrees Celsius
- Muscle weakness
- Blood in stool
- Persistent vomiting, and
- Severe abdominal pain
While food-borne illness may not necessarily require medical intervention, it is important that people learn to tell between its mild and severe forms. Statistics show that in the U.S. alone, over 5,000 people die out of food poisoning annually. Also, close to 80 million cases of the same are reported every year.
Knowing the causes is one way of preventing foodborne illness. Contamination of food at any stage before consumption can lead to poisoning. Meats, poultry products, dairy products, salads, vegetables, and fruits are the most common foods that transmit the infection. Known contamination channels are:
- Partially cooked food
- Spread of bacteria from equipment, surfaces, and foodstuffs
- Consumption of food that had contact with an ill person
- Insufficient refrigeration
- Exposing food to flies
Food poisoning can be kept at bay by reversing all the stated causes of contamination and spread. In short,
- Food should be thoroughly washed before preparation or serving (in the case of fruits)
- Cooking food thoroughly
- Boiling milk before drinking
- Treating water before drinking
- Washing hands after using the toilet and before preparing food
- Covering food, and finally
- Refrigerating food below 5 degrees Celsius