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Food poisoning – a summer problem

• Food poisoning is a common infection that affects millions of people.
• Patients complain of vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and abdominal pain.
• People should seek medical care if they have an associated fever, blood in their stool, signs and symptoms of dehydration.
• If their symptoms do not resolve after a couple of days, it is best advised to visit a doctor.
• Treatment focuses on keeping the patient well hydrated.
• Most cases of food poisoning resolve on their own.
• Prevention is key.
• Food poisoning depends upon keeping food preparation areas clean, good hand washing, and cooking foods thoroughly.

What is food poisoning?

• Food poisoning might be described as a food borne disease.
• Food that contains a toxin, chemical or infectious agent like a bacterium, virus, parasite, or prion causes symptoms in the body of food poisoning.
• Those symptoms may be related only to the gastrointestinal tract causing vomiting or diarrhea.

Chemical causes
• Scombroid poisoning usually is due to poorly cooked or stored fish.
• Ciguatera poisoning is another fish toxin that occurs after eating fish such as grouper, snapper, and barracuda.
• Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, muscle aches, and neurologic complaints including headache, numbness and tingling, hallucinations, and difficulty with balance (ataxia).
• Mushroom ingestions can cause initial symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

Bacterium Causes
• Staphylococcus aureus poisoning
• Bacillus cereus
• Clostridium Perfringens is a spore

Intermediate incubation from about 1 to 3 days.
• Infections of the large intestine or colon.
• Campylobacter
• Shigella
• Salmonella infections
• Vibrio parahaemolyticus
• E. coli (enterotoxigenic)
• Vibrio cholerae
Viruses like:
• Norwalk
• Rotavirus
• Adenovirus
• Botulism is caused by Clostridium botulinum toxin
• Hemorrhagic E. coli
• Hepatitis A
• Yersinia enterocolitica

Other conditions
• Giardiasis
• Amoebiasis
• Trichinosis
• Cysticercosis
Bacteria like:
• Listeriosis
• Brucellosis
Protozoans
• Toxoplasmosis
Prion
• Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

• abdominal cramps
• vomiting and
• diarrhea
Call the doctor when:
• fever,
• blood in the stools,
• signs of dehydration including lightheadedness when standing, weakness, decreased urination,
• diarrhea that lasts longer than 72 hours, and/or
• intractable vomiting that prevents oral hydration.

How is food poisoning diagnosed?

• History and physical examination.
• The health care practitioner may ask questions about the symptoms, when they started, and how long they have lasted.
• Travel history.
• Physical examination begins with taking the vital signs of the patient.
• Checking of blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature.
• Clinical signs of dehydration include dry, tenting skin, sunken eyes, dry mouth, and lack of sweat in the armpits and groin.
• In infants, in addition to the above subtle signs of dehydration may include poor muscle tone, poor suckling, and sunken fontanelle.
• Routine blood tests.
• Stool samples.

What is the treatment for food poisoning?

• Control nausea and vomiting.
• Medications to decrease the frequency of diarrhea.
• The key to home care is being able to keep the affected person hydrated.
• Oral rehydration therapy with water or a balanced electrolyte solution such as Gatorade or Pedialyte is usually adequate to replenish the body with fluids.
• A person can lose a significant amount of fluid with each diarrheal bowel movement, and that fluid has to be replaced to rehydrate.
• Patients that show any signs of dehydration such as decreased urination, dizziness, or dry mucous membranes, especially in the young or elderly, should see a health care practitioner.

The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet Food Poisoning and Foodborne Diseases How to Prevent Food Poisoning

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