Food poisoning is a type of food borne illness. This is the result of eating contaminated and toxic food. Although it’s quite uncomfortable, food poisoning isn’t unusual and almost everyone has already experienced it in life.
If you have food poisoning, there is no way that you won’t know about it; simply because it is not something that would go undetected. The symptoms can vary depending on the source of the infection and the intensity of the infection.
The symptoms can appear anytime between 1 hour to 28 days after infection enters the body. Some of the symptoms are given below:
- abdominal cramps
- diarrhea (persisting for more than three days can be harmful)
- loss of appetite
- mild fever (higher than 101.5°F can also happen in cases of severe infection)
- difficulty seeing or speaking
- dehydration, which may include dry mouth, passing little or no urine, and difficulty keeping fluids down in severe cases
- bloody urine in severe cases
Most food poisoning can be traced to one of these three major sources:
Bacteria happens to be the most prevalent cause of food poisoning. Dangerous bacteria, like E. coli, are famous for being the most troublesome.
Food poisoning caused by parasites is not completely unheard of but it is also not as famous as bacteria causing it. They are still very dangerous like Toxoplasma, which is usually found in cat litter boxes.
Viruses too cause food poisoning. The Norwalk virus is one of the most known to cause this and causes over 19 million cases of food poisoning annually. In very rare cases but still, nonetheless, it can be fatal.
Pathogens exist in almost all of the food that we eat but cooking it usually kills the pathogens. However, some cooked foods can still cause food poisoning.
Your doctor is the only person who can tell you for sure whether you have a food poisoning or not. You may be able to diagnose it based on your symptoms but you will only be sure once you see a doctor.
In severe cases, the doctor will have to conduct some blood tests, stool tests, and tests on even the food you ate to determine the cause of your illness. Moreover, there might be some urine tests involved to check the level of dehydration in a person.
Food poisoning isn’t difficult to get rid of. You can usually treat it at home, and in most cases, it will resolve within three to five days. However, it is always better if you see a doctor.
Here are a few things that you must or could do to get better in no time:
Remain properly hydrated. Sports drinks, coconut water, and fruit juice can be helpful for this.
Avoid caffeine as much as you can because it can irritate the digestive tract. Decaffeinated teas with soothing herbs like chamomile, peppermint, and dandelion may calm an upset stomach.
Medications like Imodium can help control diarrhea and suppress nausea.
Get plenty of rest.
In severe cases of food poisoning, hydrate yourself with intravenous (IV) fluids at a hospital.
Hold off any solid foods until vomiting and diarrhea have passed.
Eat bland and low in fat food, such as:
- saltine crackers
- chicken broth
- bland potatoes
- boiled vegetables