The illness caused by eating spoiled, toxic, or contaminated food is known as food poisoning. Food poisoning is not an unusual disease. Almost anyone can have a foodborne illness if he or she intakes expired or contaminated food. The symptoms of the illness are very common and uncomfortable as well. Usually, it may go undetected as the symptoms may vary from the source of infection. Also, the time for symptoms to develop depends on the source of infection. But, according to some researchers, this can range from 1 hour to around 20 days.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning:
Common symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Mild fever
For more severe cases of food poisoning, symptoms may include:
- Difficulty in speaking
- Difficulty in seeing
- High fever around 101.5F
- Blood passing through urine
- Dry mouth
- Severe diarrhea
Always remember, if you experience any of these symptoms (also the mild ones) immediately contact your family doctor. Never delay seeking proper medical assistance as this could lead to life-threatening situations.
Causes of Food Poisoning:
Common causes of food poisoning include:
- Bacteria being the major cause of any disease is always on top of the list of causes. Salmonella and listeria are some of the biggest culprits for food poisoning. Other than that, Campylobacter and C. botulinum are the two knowns yet not so famous bacteria that can make their way into our food.
- Food poisoning via parasites is not a very common cause of food poisoning, yet the parasites that food can be exposed to is alarming. It has been shown that the parasite Toxoplasma can cause food poisoning. These parasites can live for a year or more in your GI tract. However, individuals with compromised immune systems or women that are pregnant can be at serious risk if these parasites reside in the intestine.
- Over 19 million cases were once registered due to the Norovirus. The Hepatitis A virus is also a serious threat that is transmitted through food into the human body.
What Is Contaminated Food?
Pathogens are found in almost anything you eat. Heat helps kills them before they are served. Food items eaten raw are usually the common source of food contamination. Food products that are usually contaminated are:
- Dairy products
Therefore, it is always important to wash your hands properly before cooking or making food. Also, be sure to fully cook meat before serving it.
Is Food Poisoning a Threat to Humans?
Food poisoning is usually treated at home, with most of the cases easily resolved using home remedies. It may take two to three days to cure the illness. Things you need to do include staying hydrated, eating fresh fruits, and balancing your body’s level of electrolytes and carbohydrates. Also, avoid caffeine. Instead, it is better to drink decaffeinated drinks and soothing herbal teas. These decaffeinated drinks help relax and calm the stomach.
Unsafe and contaminated food is a global threat and endangers all of humanity. It can affect young children, infants, pregnant women, and people with underlying illnesses. Food poisoning causes malnutrition and diarrheal disease. There are many preventive measures that should be taken regularly to keep food safe.
What the WHO Says
In an act to help stop or minimalize food poisoning the policymakers and consumers can:
- Keep track of food testing systems in order to manage food safety.
- Broaden the spectra of food policies.
- Think and act nobly to ensure that food produced domestically is safe.
- Know the expiry date and what you are using by reading the package and labels
- Local markets and restaurants should practice the five keys to safer food set by the WHO.
The World Health Organization aims to provide prevention and cures to public health threats. The organization helps members create a safe space for people, saving them from foodborne diseases and other microbiological hazards that are marked as unsafe in terms of international food standards.