Food poisoning

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Both nausea and abdominal pain are caused by food-borne bacteria. Always remember that food poisoning can result to nausea, severe pain and diarrhea. These can eventually lead to serious dehydration.

What are the causes of food poisoning?

Different types of bacteria can lead to food-borne illnesses. Even cooked food that is left at room temperature for more than two hours can already harbor bacteria. In most cases, you will not suspect that bacteria are present since there is no discoloration or unusual odor on the food.

Majority of raw foods are already contaminated with bacteria once it is purchased in the market. It is important to take note of the common types of bacteria that causes food poisoning.

• Shigella
• Salmonella
• Escherichia coli (E.coli)

Symptoms of food poisoning

food poisoning
Food poisoning is marked by abdominal pain.

The common symptoms of majority of food-borne illnesses include:

• Nausea
• Abdominal cramps and pain
• Vomiting
• Fever
• Diarrhea
• Dehydration

It is important to call for emergency assistance if an individual has the following symptoms even if the abdominal systems are present or not.

• Chest pain
• Indicative signs of shock such as shallow breathing, rapid or weak pulse, chills and cold skin.
• Signs of severe dehydration which include fatigue, dry mouth, sunken eyes, dizziness, low urine output, elevated heart rate and breathing, sticky saliva and low blood pressure.
• Confusion

Treatment for food poisoning

The treatments for food poisoning have the main objective of preventing dehydration from getting worse. This is due to the fact that food poisoning involves vomiting and diarrhea.

Antibiotics are not required or even helpful in cases of food poisoning. For severe infections such as those caused by shigella or other parasites, the treatment would involve antibiotics. It is best to consult your doctor if an individual has high fever, blood-streaked diarrhea, signs of dehydration and the overall condition is deteriorating.

Food safety considerations

• Always wash your hands thoroughly before preparing and serving food.
• Foods must be cooked properly especially poultry, meat and eggs.
• Food and utensils must be separated when preparing, serving and storing meals so that cross-contamination can be prevented as much as possible.
• Leftover food should be chilled as soon as possible and within a few hours of cooking or serving.
• Fruits and vegetables must be cleaned before serving.
• If you suspect contaminated food or those that gone past the expiration dates, it is best to throw them away.

Important considerations when dealing with food poisoning

Always bear in mind that almost any food can become contaminated, but certain foods are at high risk including dairy products, unpasteurized milk, raw shellfish and under-cooked poultry and meat.

Honey should not be given to infants below 12 months old since it is considered as a source of Clostridium botulinum spores that can cause botulism.

It is not easy to determine if a particular food is bad by simply checking its color and smell. Majority of contaminated food can appear normal and without any foul or unusual smell.

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