Ques. 1 What is food poisoning?
Ans. Food poisoning is food borne disease. Ingestion of food that contains a toxin, chemical or infectious agent (like a bacterium, virus, parasite, or prion) may cause adverse symptoms in the body. Those symptoms may be related only to the gastrointestinal tract causing vomiting or diarrhea or they may involve other organs such as kidney, brain, or muscle.
Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating foods that have harmful organisms in them. These harmful germs can include bacteria, parasites, viruses. They are mostly found in raw meat, chicken, fish, & eggs, but they can spread to any type of food. They can also grow on food that is left out on counters or outdoors or is stored too long before we eat it. Sometimes food poisoning happens when people don't wash hands before they touch food.
Food poisoning is mild and goes away after a few days. But some types of food poisoning may be more serious, and you may need to see a doctor.
Ques. 2 What are the Symptoms of Food Poisoning?
Ans. Generally, food poisoning causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that may or may not be bloody, sometimes with other symptoms.
a) Vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, excessive salivation, mental confusion, and stomach pain may be symptoms of chemical or toxin food poisoning poisonous mushrooms.
b) Partial loss of speech or blurred vision, muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting may indicate botulism, a severe but very rare type of bacterial food poisoning.
c) After eating tainted food, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, can start as early as one hour. It may take even longer to develop symptoms from parasite infections such as Giardia. Symptoms can last from one day up to a couple of months or longer, depending on type of infection.
Ques. 3 How do harmful germs get into food?
Ans. Germs can get into food when:
a) The food is prepared. When someone who has germs on his or her hands touches the food. For example, if you use the same cutting board for chopping vegetables and preparing raw meat, germs from the raw meat can get on the vegetables.
b) Meat is processed. It is normal to find bacteria in the intestines of healthy animals that we use for food. Sometimes the bacteria get mixed up with the parts of those animals that we eat.
c) The food is watered or washed. If the water used to irrigate or wash fresh fruits and vegetables has germs from animal manure or human sewage in it, those germs can get on the fruits and vegetables.
Ques. 4 How can you protect yourself from salmonella food poisoning?
Ans. Call Your Doctor About Food Poisoning If:
i. Any diarrhea in a newborn or infant
ii. Diarrhea that lasts longer than 2 days (one day in a child) or is severe
iii. Severe abdominal pain or vomiting
iv. Fever of 102°F or higher (or a rectal temperature of 100.4°F in baby younger than 3 months of age)
v. Stools that are black, tarry, or bloody
vi. You recognize symptoms of chemical or toxin food poisoning, such as vomiting.
vii. You suspect that you have food poisoning
viii. Any signs of dehydration such as dry mouth, decreased urination, dizziness, or sunken eyes.
Ques. 5 Which are the general guidelines to protect yourself from food poisoning?
Ans. General Guidelines to Prevent Food Poisoning
a) Be aware of proper home-canning procedures.
b) Be careful that you don't let juices or drippings from raw meat, poultry, shellfish, or eggs contaminate other foods.
c) Do not leave eggs, meats, poultry, seafood, or milk for extended periods of time at room temperature. Promptly refrigerate leftovers and food prepared in advance.
d) Avoid unpasteurized milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk.
e) Keep the refrigerator at 40 degrees Farenheit or lower, and the freezer at 0 degrees Farenheit or lower.
f) Wash raw vegetables and fruits thoroughly before eating, especially those that will not be cooked. Avoid eating alfalfa sprouts until their safety can be assured. Methods to decontaminate alfalfa seeds sprouts are being investigated.
g) Drink only pasteurized juice or cider. Commercial juice with an extended shelf life that is sold at the room temperature (juice in cardboard boxes, vacuum sealed juice in glass containers) has been pasteurized, although this is generally not indicated on the label. Juice concentrates are also heated sufficiently to kill the bacteria.
h) If you are ill with diarrhea or vomiting, do not prepare food for others, especially infants, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems, because they are more vulnerable to infection.
i) Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, turtles, birds, or after contact with human or pets.
j) Breastfeed your baby if possible. Mother's milk is the safest food for young infants.Breastfeeding may prevent many food-borne illnesses and other health problems.
k) Cook foods until they are steaming hot, especially leftover foods or ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs.
l) Make sure that food from animal sources (meat, dairy, eggs) is cooked thoroughly or pasteurized. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the food.
m) Avoid eating raw or spoiled meats and eggs. Check expiration dates on meats and eggs before purchasing and again before preparing.
n) Carefully select and prepare fish and shellfish to ensure quality and freshness.
o) Although the risk of food-borne disease associated with foods from deli counters is relatively low, pregnant women & people with weakened immune systems may choose to avoid these foods or thoroughly reheat cold cuts before eating.
Food poisoning is common infectious condition that affects millions of people in the United States each year.
Ques. 6 Are food poisoning and stomach flu the same thing?
Ans. Food poisoning and the stomach flu may or may not be the same thing, depending if the causative agent is transmitted by contaminated food, or if the agent is transmitted by non-food mechanisms (such as body secretions). Most health-care professionals equate stomach flu to viral gastroenteritis.
Stomach flu is a non-specific term that describes an illness that usually resolves within 24 hours and is caused commonly by adenovirus, (rotavirus is most commonly found in children).
If numerous cases of "stomach flu" occur in situation where many people have been eating, it certainly may be considered food poisoning. Norwalk virus is responsible for many cases of the food borne illness.
Ques. 7 How long does food poisoning last?
Ans. Most cases of food poisoning last about 1 to 2 days and symptoms resolve on their own. If symptoms persist longer than that, affected person should contact their health-care professional.
Cyclospora infections may be difficult to detect and diarrhea may last for weeks. health-care professionals may consider this parasite as potential cause of food poisoning in patients with prolonged symptoms.
Ques. 8 What are the types of food poisoning?
Ans. Most frequently, food poisoning may be due to infection caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and infrequently, prions. More than 200 infectious causes exist. Sometimes it is not the bacteria that causes problem, but rather the toxin that bacteria produce in the food before it is eaten. This is case with Staphylococcal food poisoning and with botulism.
Other illnesses may involve chemical toxins that are produced in certain foods that are poorly cooked or stored. For example, scombroid poisoning occurs due to large release of histamine chemical from the fish when it is eaten. It causes facial swelling,itching, and difficulty in breathing and swallowing - just like any allergic reaction. Scombroid poisoning is sometimes confused with a shellfish allergy.
Ques. 9 What are the causes of food poisoning?
Ans. There many causes of food poisoning. Sometimes they are classified by how quickly the symptoms begin after eating potentially contaminated food. This is the incubation time from when food enters body until symptoms begin. The following are examples of how this time classification can be arranged:
Short incubation of less than 16 - 24 hours
a) Mushroom ingestions can cause initial symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Eating Amanita mushrooms can causeliver and kidney failure leading to death.
b) Scrombroid poisoning usually is due to poorly cooked or stored fish. The affected person will experience, shortness of breath, and difficulty swallowing within 1 to 2 hours of eating.
c) Ciguatera poisoning is another fish toxin that occurs after eating fish such as grouper, snapper. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, muscle aches, and neurologic complaints including headache, numbness and tingling, hallucinations, & difficulty with balance (ataxia).
i. Bacillus cereus is an infection that occurs after eating poorly cooked or raw rice.
ii. Clostridium perfringens produces a spore that may germinate in cooked meat that has been stored in an environment that was very warm. Within 8 to 12 hours, it may cause profuse diarrhea.
iii. Staphylococcus aureus poisoning is due to a toxin that is pre-formed in food before it is eaten. It causes vomiting within 1 to 6 hours after eating the contaminated food.
Ques. 10 When should the doctor be called for food poisoning?
Ans. With a clear fluid diet and rest, most infections resolve on their own within 24 hours. A health-care professional should be contacted if vomiting and diarrhea are associated with one or more of the following symptoms:
a) signs of dehydration includinglightheadedness when standing, weakness, decreased urination,
b) diarrhea that lasts longer than 72 hours, and/or
c) repeated vomiting that prevents drinking and rehydrating (replacing the fluids lost due to fever, diarrhea, and vomiting).
e) blood in the stools,
Ques.11 How is food poisoning diagnosed?
Ans. Most times, the diagnosis of food poisoning is made by history and physical examination. Often, patient volunteers the diagnosis when they come for medical care. For example, "I got sick after eating potato salad at a picnic," or, "I drank a raw egg protein shake."
The health-careprofessional may ask questions about symptoms, when they started, and how long they have lasted. A review of systems may help give direction as to what type of infection is present. For example, patient with numbness of their feet and weakness may be asked about whether they have opened any home canned food recently.
Travel history may be helpful to see if patient had been camping near a stream or lake and the potential for drinking contaminated water, or if they have travelled out of the country recently & have eaten different foods than they normally do, such as raw eggs or wild game.
Physical examination begins with taking vital signs of the patient (blood pressure, pulse rate, and temperature). Clinical signs of dehydration include dry, tenting skin, sunken eyes, dry mouth, & lack of sweat in the armpits and groin. In infants, in addition to the above, subtle signs of dehydration may include, poor suckling, and sunken fontanelle.
Ques. 12 Which examinations and tests are advisable for food poisoning?
Ans. Exams and Tests : -
Health care provider will look for signs of food poisoning. These may include pain in the stomach and signs your body has too little fluid (dehydration).
Tests may be done on stools or the food you have eaten to find out what type of germ is causing your symptoms. However, tests may not always find the cause of the diarrhea.
In more serious cases, your health care provider may order sigmoidoscopy. This test uses a thin, hollow tube with a light on end that is laced in the anus to look for the source of bleeding or infection.
Ques. 13 What is the treatment of food poisoning?
Most of the time, you will get better in a couple of days. The goal is to ease symptoms and make sure your body has proper amount of fluids.
Getting enough fluids and learning what to eat will help keep you comfortable. You may need to:
i. You can drink oral rehydration mixtures to replace fluids and minerals lost through vomiting and diarrhea.
ii. Oral rehydration powder can be purchased from a pharmacy. Be sure to mix the powder in safe water.
iii. You can make your own mixture by dissolving ½ teaspoonful each salt and baking soda and 4 tablespoonsful of sugar in 4 ¼ cups (1 liter) water.
iv. If you have diarrhea and are unable to drink or keep down fluids, you may need fluids given through a vein (by IV). This may be more common in young children.
v. If you take diuretics, ask your health care provider if you need to stop taking the diuretic while you have diarrhea. Never stop or change medicines before talking to your doctor.
vi. For the most common causes of food poisoning, your doctor will NOT prescribe antibiotics.
vii. You can buy medicines at the drugstore that help slow diarrhea.
viii. Do not use these medicines without talking to your health care provider if you have bloody diarrhea, a fever, or the diarrhea is severe.
ix. Do not give these medicines to children.
x. Manage the diarrhea
xi. Control nausea and vomiting
xii. Get plenty of rest
Ques. 14 Which important home remedies are used for food poisoning?
Ans. The following the useful home remedies: -
Garlic is very effective in fighting food poisoning due to its strong antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also relieves symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain.
1. Eat one fresh garlic clove, swallowing it with water. If you can tolerate the smell of garlic, you can also try garlic juice.
2. Alternatively, you can make a mixture of garlic oil and soybean oil and rub it on your stomach after eating.
2. Fenugreek Seeds and Yogurt
Yogurt has antibacterial antimicrobial properties that help fight the bacteria causing food poisoning. Plus, fenugreek seeds help treat abdominal discomfort.
You can take one teaspoon fenugreek seeds along with a tablespoon of yogurt. You just need to swallow seeds and need not chew them. The combining effect of fenugreek seeds and yogurt will give you an immediate relief from stomach pain as well as vomiting.
Basil is an excellent herb to soothe abdominal discomfort caused by food poisoning. It also has antimicrobial properties that help fight the micro-organisms You can get the benefits from basil in several ways.
a) Put a few drops of basil oil in four cups of drinking water. Drink it slowly throughout the day to kill bacteria causing stomach pain and other problems.
b) Add basil leaves, some sea salt, and a pinch black pepper to three tablespoons of plain yogurt. Eat this three to four times a day until your symptoms are gone.
Drink basil juice extracted from a few basil leaves with one tablespoon of honey several times a day. You can also add some fresh coriander juice to it.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Though acidic in nature apple cider vinegar has an alkaline effect due to way it is metabolized in body. Thus, it can alleviate various food poisoning symptoms. It can soothe the gastrointestinal lining and kill the bacteria, giving you instant relief.
a) Alternatively, you can drink two to three teaspoons of undiluted apple cider vinegar.
b) Just mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of hot water and drink it before eating your food.
Ginger is an excellent home remedy for curing almost all types of digestive problems, including those caused by the food poisoning.
a) One option is to add a few drops of ginger juice to one teaspoon of honey and swallow it several times a day to reduce inflammation and pain.
b) You can also eat raw ginger slices.
c) Drink one cup of ginger tea after eating lunch or dinner to stop heartburn, nausea and other symptoms associated with food poisoning. To make ginger tea, boil one teaspoon grated ginger in cup of water for few minutes, add a little sugar or honey and your tea is ready.
The anti-inflammatory, antiviral, & antibacterial properties in lemons can give you much relief. The acid in lemons helps kill bacteria that cause food poisoning.
i. You can also sip on warm water with lemon juice to clean out your system.
ii. Just add a pinch of sugar to one teaspoon of lemon juice and drink it two to three times a day.
Ques. 15 Which Homoeopathic remedies are useful for food poisoning?
Ans. Here are some homeopathic remedies to consider for food poisoning or similar gastrointestinal complaints.
1. Arsenicum: Bad effects of spoiled fish, meat and bad water. Burning pain in abdomen, person feels chilly, restless, thirsty for sips of water. Vomiting and diarrohea at the same time. Better for warmth and warm drinks, worse from cold drinks and sight or smell of food.
2. Urtica Urens: Ailments from eating shellfish with allergic skin reaction.
3. Lycopodium: Bad effects of shellfish especially oysters.
4. China: This it an excellent remedy to help promote recovery after fluid loss which has arisen because of symptoms such as persistent sweating, vomiting, diarrohea causing exhaustion and dehydration.
5. Nux Vomica: Bad effects of overindulgence in food and wine, fatty foods, spicy foods and alcohol. Symptoms of cramps, hangovers, wind, pressure, and vomiting which does not relieve.