Food or water poisoning is a common disease that occurs as a result of entering food or water containing bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins produced by these microorganisms. Symptoms usually manifest themselves within 24 hours, unexpectedly, shortly after the consumption of contaminated food. This disease can occur in a person or in a group of people who ate from the same contaminated food.
Why Incidence Is Higher In Summer Period?
Food poisoning can occur at any time of the year but undoubtedly the peak reached in the warmer months. One reason is the state of the weather. High temperatures and humidity in summer allow bacteria to multiply rapidly and in large numbers. Once this happens, one will try contaminated feed is likely to get sick. Another reason is the increased activity of the people. In summer the number of people who cook out, go on a picnic or camp. Because of that, kitchen advantages (refrigerator thermostat to control the cooking, dishwasher) usually are not available.
Ways Of Food Pollution
Food poisoning usually occurs during eating and drinking:
- Food prepared by a chef who does not keep a constant and proper hand hygiene.
- Food prepared using contaminated kitchen utensils.
- Dairy products or food containing mayonnaise and kept out of the fridge for a longer period.
- Frozen food that is not kept at proper temperature.
- Raw fish and oysters.
- Fresh vegetables and fruits that are not properly washed.
- Insufficiently cooked eggs and meat.
- Water from a well or a stream that has not been previously purified.
- Meat products contaminated with bacteria by ingestion of the microorganism of the animal whose meat is used.
- Water containing faeces and used for watering the plants.
Most Frequent Causes
There are many microorganisms that cause food poisoning, but the most common are: Caused Appearance of the first symptoms Contaminated food and method of transferring
Clostridium perfringens 8-16 hours: Meat and meat products sauce in which the meat is cooked
Staphylococcus aureus 1.6 hours: Meats and prepared salads, cream sauces, sweet cream. It can be spread by contact with the hand, coughs or sneezes contaminated by individual.
Salmonella 24-72 hours: Raw meat, milk, eggs and egg yolk. Survives with inadequate preparation. Can be transferred if the contaminated hands of chef knives, cutting surfaces of food.
Clostridium botulinum 12-72 hours: Canned food with low acidity, improperly sealed cans, smoked and salted fish, baked potato in aluminum foil, food stored at room temperature for a longer time.
Bacillus cereus 8-16 hours: Eggs, meat, dairy products, plants.
Campylobacter 2.5 days: Meat and eggs (contamination occurs if polluted feces come into contact with food), unpasteurized milk, contaminated water.
Shigella 24-48 hours: Raw seafood and fresh food. Can be transferred if the cook is contaminated.
E.coli 1.8 days: Beef contaminated with feces (usually occurs in undercooked meat), unpasteurized milk, contaminated water.
Rotavirus 1-3 days Raw food: Can be transferred if the cook is contaminated.
Symptoms And Complications
Symptoms depend on the source and cause of the contamination. Most types of food poisoning-causing symptoms:
- Cramping and abdominal pain
- High fever
Symptoms may appear several hours to several days after ingestion of contaminated food, and persist from 1 to 10 days. The most common complication is dehydration.
Less common but more serious complications are:
- damage to the nervous system
- kidney problems
- swelling or irritation of the tissue around the heart.
When To Ask For Help And Contact A Doctor?
Should immediately contact the nearest health center if you have:
- Blood or pus in the stool
- Diarrhea, while you cannot drink fluids because of nausea and vomiting
- Temperatures higher than 38 degrees accompanied by diarrhea
- Signs of dehydration (thirst, dizziness, headaches)
- Diarrhea which is not improved in 5 days
- Child that vomits more than 12 hours (when it comes to baby 3 months, you should talk to your doctor as soon as you begin diarrhea or vomiting)
- Poisoning of fish or mushrooms, botulism.
How To Help Yourself?
- Rest the stomach. Do not eat for a few hours.
- Drink plenty of water. Adults should drink 8 to 16 glasses of water a day, but in smaller amounts several times more to prevent dehydration. You will know that you are getting enough water when you start to urinate normally and the color of dark urine will pass to normal.
- Eat light food. After a few hours resting, the stomach should enter foods that are easy to digest, like crackers, toast, gelatin, bananas, rice. But you should stop eating if you get back the urge to vomit.
- Avoid certain foods and substances until you feel better. It comes to dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and heavy fatty foods.
- Rest good. The disease and dehydration can make you exhausted and languorous. Do not use medicines against diarrhea. Such drugs instead to help you ease the diarrhea may prevent elimination of bacteria or toxins from your system and to exacerbate the situation.