Be Wary of Food Poisoning

Have you eaten something that made you feel sick? It could be food poisoning. Food poisoning is an illness caused by harmful organisms in foods that people consume. These harmful organisms can be anything from bacteria to parasites to viruses. They are commonly found in raw meat, poultry and fish. They spread easily to various kinds of foods and they can also grow on those that are exposed outdoors.

When people don't wash their hands before eating, germs may transfer from the hands to the food they eat and cause food poisoning. Usually, the illness is mild and can go away after a few days. However, there are some types of food poisoning that are more severe. These require immediate medical attention.

Symptoms
Symptoms depend on the type of germ that made you sick. The most common symptom of food poisoning is diarrhea, as the body is trying to expel all the toxins from your body. This is usually accompanied by stomach pains, stomach cramps, and vomiting. When you experience constant vomiting or diarrhea, you may be at risk of dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include lightheadedness, nausea, dark urine, and dry mouth.

Prevention
The important steps in the prevention of food poisoning involve safe food handling, preparation, cooking and storage. These can avoid food-borne illness that are caused by bacteria that you can't see, smell, or even taste. First, make sure that when you go grocery shopping, you buy cold foods last so you can get them home faster.

Always check the expiration or best-before dates of food products. Meat and poultry should be kept separate from other types of food. Refrigerate perishable foods, putting raw meat, poultry or fish in the coldest area of the refrigerator. The refrigerator should be at 40 F (4.44 C) while the freezer should be at 0 F (-17.7 C). This will inhibit the growth of bacteria inside the refrigerator.

Keep everything clean during food preparation. Always wash your hands before and after preparing food particularly for handling raw meat and poultry. Cutting boards should be sanitized after they are used for chopping or slicing raw meat and poultry. Same for counter tops and any other item that has been exposed to these uncooked foods. Discard marinade after use. Don't include them in the food you're cooking. Never leave food exposed. Finally, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

Treatment
Primary treatment for food poisoning is rehydration. Anti-vomiting and anti-diarrhea medications may also be given. If the illness is accompanied by fever, a doctor may treat the fever to make the patient feel better.

Home remedies may also help. It's a common practice not to consume solid food while having diarrhea or vomiting attacks. Drinking plenty of fluids shouldn't be neglected. It's best to avoid alcoholic, sugary and caffeinated drinks. In severe cases of food poisoning such as mushroom poisoning, immediate intensive medical care should be given.

 


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