It is important to note that food poisoning is triggered by consumption of food that has been contaminated by parasites, bacteria or viruses. Food can be contaminated during the processing or production or due to poor handling or preparation. Food poisoning typically occurs after eating food from a cafeteria, restaurant, outdoor picnic or social event where food is served. Many individuals usually recover from food poisoning without treatment but complications can manifest in some forms of food poisoning.
What are causes?
An individual can end up with food poisoning from eating food that was prepared by someone who was not able to wash hands before handling food or utilized cooking utensils that are unclean. Food poisoning can develop after eating foods that contain mayonnaise that has been left unrefrigerated for a long time or by consuming refrigerated foods that were not stored at the proper temperature or reheated correctly. Eating undercooked eggs, raw fish, undercooked meat or raw vegetables and fruits that were not thoroughly washed will put an individual at risk for food poisoning.
What are the common symptoms?
The usual symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea. As for lightheadedness, it is a symptom of dehydration instigated by a severe case of food poisoning that entails immediate medical care. The symptoms can manifest hours after consuming contaminated food or even days or weeks after.
The severe symptoms that entail immediate medical care include frequent episodes of vomiting, blood-streaked vomit, severe diarrhea, temperature higher than 101.5 degrees F, blood in the stool and muscle weakness that worsens. The symptoms of dehydration such as decreased urination, excessive thirst, dry mouth, weakness, dizziness, double vision or difficulty speaking would require medical care.
Diagnosing the condition
The doctor will check the physical signs of food poisoning. The doctor will ask about the foods eaten and perform tests on the blood, stool, vomit or food eaten. If the individual experiences diarrhea, the doctor might advise avoiding solid foods until it subsides as well as dairy products that will worsen the symptoms.
The individual is instructed to drink plenty of fluids to replace the lost fluids from diarrhea and vomiting. The fluids can be administered intravenously if the individual could not keep fluids down. Antibiotics are not typically given for common causes of food poisoning but over-the-counter medications can be taken. The management of food poisoning due to mushroom or shellfish involves the emptying of the stomach. If you want to properly manage the symptoms of food poisoning, click here.
Outlook and possible complications
Recovery from food poisoning typically occurs 24 hours up to a few days, depending on the severity. Remember that dehydration is the most serious complication of food poisoning. Other potential complications due to listeria which affects unborn infants can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth or even a fatal infection after birth. Some strains of E. coli bacteria can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome which can lead to kidney failure in some individuals.