Food poisoning: symptoms and causes for concern

Foodborne illness, widely known as food poisoning, happens, when you eat foods, contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or certain toxins.

Pathogens can spread to almost all products. But when you cook them with heat, most harmful agents die off before reaching your mouth.

That’s why raw, ready-to-consume foods are the most frequent culprits of the poisonings.

Although in vast majority of cases foodborne illnesses don’t cause serious complications, certain toxins have ability to affect neurologic system, leading to dangerous consequences.

Specialists warn that listeria infection may be extremely hazardous for pregnant women, as it may cause miscarriage, premature birth or neurological problems in a baby.

If you have mild poisoning, you might experience nausea, repeated vomiting, diarrhea and discomfort in the abdominal area. Sometimes these symptoms may be accompanied by fever, as a result of body’s immune response.

Time between eating contaminated food and starting symptoms may vary, depending on the agent, which triggers poisoning

The good news is that symptoms usually dissolve by themselves within a few days. Be aware that you really need to seek for medical help immediately, if your diarrhea lasts longer than three days, or if you suffer from any of these symptoms:

#1. Blood in the vomit or stool

#2. High fever (100.4F or higher)

#3. Unbearable abdominal pain

#4. Too frequent vomiting that makes it impossible to keep fluids down

#5. Having dehydration signs (dry mouth, no urination or passing scanty amount of dark concentrated urine, severe dizziness and loss of consciousness)

#6. Neurological abnormalities (blurry vision, weak muscles, tingling in the limbs)

Everyone may become ill because of taking contaminated foods. But it was found that some of us have higher chances to get foodborne illness. The reason is that older adults, pregnant women, children and individuals with chronic issues (like diabetes or AIDS) have weaker immune system and can’t fight off infection as effectively as other people can.

Try to avoid contamination of the products, washing your hands with soap, keeping raw foods apart from ready-to-eat products, cook at appropriate temperature (165F for chicken, 160F for beef etc.).

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