Getting to Know Food Poisoning
By Yuan Cheng
Food poisoning, with 3+ million cases each year, is a relatively common ailment. For example, Romaine lettuce contaminated with the E.coli O157:H7, a form of food poisoning-inducing bacteria, poisoned 172 people across 32 states in 2018. Salmonella from dried coconuts, kratom, and chicken salad were also triggers of food poisoning outbreaks. Food poisoning affects older adults, infants, and pregnant people more heavily than it does others.
Food poisoning is usually caused by bacteria and viruses such as E.coli, Yersinia, salmonella, shigella, Clostridium, etc. Food poisoning usually spreads through raw/uncooked food that already have these bacteria or have developed them, and viruses can travel through contaminated water.
Parasites are more common in developing countries, where the food/water have lower qualities and can contain parasites that enter into your digestive tracts upon consumption. Giardia, cryptosporidium, and Toxoplasma gondii are all such parasites.
Avoid eating raw eggs or undercooked meat. Foods such as salami, melons/cantaloupe, raspberries, apple ciders, ice cream and even toasted cereal can cause food poisoning, so take necessary precautions while preparing, or order them at reliable locations. Make sure that all foods are stored at their appropriate temperatures, as bacteria that cause food poisoning might grow. Don’t leave poultry and seafood in the sink or in places where they might seep into other foods. It is also advisable to use separate cutleries for raw meats.
Typical symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, migraines, fever, cramps, etc. If the type of food poisoning affects the Nervous system, it is more serious and can have effects like blurred vision, swallowing issues, weak limbs, etc. Food poisoning can cause dehydration, especially in younger children, so when a fever reaches over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, medical attention is advised.
Although seeing a doctor is advised (especially if you are unsure about self-medication), try the following tips if the symptoms are NOT severe: drinking mint/ginger tea to dispel nausea; following a diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and clear soup; fighting dehydration with water with electrolyte tablets.
In rare cases, patients develop Arthritis or IBS after getting food poisoning.