All About Food Poisoning
Food is fuel for the body but what happens when the food eaten by you causes illness. Yes, I am talking about food poisoning. This post focuses on food poisoning.
How does food poisoning happen?
It happens due to consuming food contaminated with infectious microbes. Contamination of food can happen at any stage of processing; it can even happen when food is not stored or handled properly at home.
Food poisoning can have one or more of the following symptoms-
- Watery diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and cramps
It is always advisable to pay a visit to the doctor when you suffer from any of these symptoms.
The high risk groups
The groups of people under high risk are as follows:
- The elderly. As you age, your immunity decreases and you may not respond as effectively to infectious microbes as you used to in your younger days.
- Pregnant women. During pregnancy, women undergo a change in metabolism and circulation which may increase the risk of food poisoning. So, you should be extra careful when pregnant.
- Infants and young children. They are affected as their immune systems are not fully developed.
- People with chronic disease. If you are suffering from diseases such as diabetes, AIDS or liver disease or are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, there will be a decrease in your immunity.
Complication due to food poisioning
Dehydration is a very common complication associated with food poisoning. Dehydration is basically a severe loss of water and essential salts, minerals. One needs to keep drinking sufficient water in order to replace the fluids that are lost due to diarrhea and vomiting. Make sure that the patient is given ORS. At times the dehydration becomes so high that the patient needs to be given drips at the hospital.
How to prevent food poisoning?
- Keep your hands, utensils and kitchen surfaces clean.
Always wash your hands nicely with soap and water before and after handling or preparing food. Nowadays there is a lot of focus on washing hands. Ads on TV talk about healthy hand wash and ask you to use liquid hand washes that protect against germs. For your kitchen counter too you can see disinfectants like Dettol being touted.
- Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods.
Always keep raw foods away from ready to eat food. This way you can prevent the chances of cross-contamination.
- Try cooking foods to a safe temperature.
By cooking foods at the right temperature you can kill most of the disease causing microbes. Keep a food thermometer in the kitchen if you want.
- Refrigerate perishable foods in time
Always keep perishable foods in the fridge within 2 hours of purchasing or preparing them. Especially during summers you need to take care as it mostly during this time that the foods start getting spoiled pretty soon if not refrigerated properly.
- Throw it out when in doubt.
If you are unsure about a particular food or if it has been left unconsumed for long just discard it. Food when left at room temperature for too long may contain bacteria or toxins that can prove to be trouble makers. Always make it a point to store leftovers food properly in the fridge.
Foods that can easily get contaminated
Foods that are chiefly prone to contamination if not stored or cooked properly include:
You should make sure that you purchase the above from reliable sources.
Hope this post has helped in throwing some light on food poisoning.
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