Food Poisoning and its causes
Foodborne illness, commonly called food poisoning, is the result of eating contaminated, spoiled or toxic food. The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. You can also trace most food poisoning to one of the following three major causes:
Toxoplasma, found in cat litter boxes is the most common parasite. Furthermore, parasites can live undetected in your digestive tract for years. People with weakened immune systems and pregnant women are most at risk of being affected by food poisoning, Bacteria are the most common cause of food poisoning. It is caused by bacteria like E.Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. Campylobacter and C. Botulinum (causing botulism) are lesser known but lethal bacteria. Viruses are yet another reason for food poisoning.
How does food become contaminated? How to prevent this?
Almost all the things humans eat has pathogens. Cooking and high heat kills the pathogens. Contamination is in meat, eggs, dairy products, and all raw foods or salads, as well as water.
Pathogens can be introduced into food from people who handle the food without thoroughly washing their hands. Hence in turn, this leads to contamination. Therefore, wash your hands before cooking and after handling raw meat or fish.
Clean and wash all vessels that had contact with raw meat, fish or eggs. Sushi, raw fish delicacies, unwashed fruits and vegetables; as well as unpasteurized milk, cheese or juice may harbor pathogens. So cook meat, poultry, and eggs properly at high temperatures as the high temperatures kill pathogens.
Most of all, cockroaches can contaminate food with their waste and saliva. It contains bacteria that can cause food poisoning. So if you see cockroaches roaming in your home, especially in the kitchen, then approach a cockroach control expert immediately.
To avoid food poisoning, one must keep containers covered and handle food with cleanliness. Also Keep kitchen surfaces, refrigerators, and mixer-grinders clean. Furthermore sterile them with hot water, antiseptic or detergent solutions or soap.
Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly: a mild solution of potassium permanganate in water helps. Do not use outdated foodstuffs, cans or tetra packs that are bulging or dented.
Do not eat foods that smell funny or “off”. Contaminated water is dangerous. Also drink treated, purified, boiled or chlorinated water.
Food poisoning symptoms, diagnosis and risk factors
Symptoms of food poisoning vary from person to person and symptoms appear from one hour to four weeks after infection. Food poisoning symptoms include at least three of these:
- Abdominal cramps
- Diarrhea; vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Mild fever
One should contact one’s doctor immediately if diarrhea persists for more than 3 days. Also if high fever occurs, symptoms of dehydration or bloody urine appear, difficulty seeing or speaking.
There are some deadly and life-threatening symptoms of food poisoning. Food poisoning during pregnancy should be taken seriously and at the first food poisoning signs, you must consult your doctor.
Your doctor will be able to diagnose the type of food poisoning and advise blood, stool or urine tests as well as a proper course of treatment. The elderly, the immune-compromised, small children and pregnant women are considered most at risk.
Diet and home remedies for food poisoning
Food poisoning can usually be treated at home: most cases resolve in three to five days. Electrolyte drinks, coconut water, cream crackers, gelatin, rice, oatmeal, boiled potatoes and vegetables are effective. Also toast, ginger-ale and sports drinks are good. Over-the-counter medications from your local chemist or doctor should control diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Take plenty of rest and re-hydration. Avoid dairy products, fatty or highly-spicy foods, fried and sugary foods. Do not over-exert yourself. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Home remedies for food poisoning
At some time or the other, most of us have suffered a bout of food poisoning: caused by bacteria, viruses, chemicals or other toxins.
- We may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. The body is likely to lose much water. Severe dehydration is dangerous, so one must drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Oral re-hydration powders and tablets are useful
- Simple ingredients available will alleviate symptoms: ginger, fenugreek (methi seeds), yogurt (dahi), fresh lime (nimbu), garlic, Holy Basil (Tulsi), and mint leaves (pudina), cumin (jeera), herbal tea and honey
- Ginger tea is made with grated ginger or ginger juice, boiled in a cup of water, with a touch of honey added
- Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in hot water have an alkaline effect and kill bacteria, thus alleviating the symptoms
- Yoghurt is antibacterial and antimicrobial. Fenugreek seeds (methi) with yogurt, gives relief from stomach pain and vomiting
- Lemons (nimbu) are anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-bacterial fruits: the acid helps kill the bacteria that cause food poisoning so drink lime juice
- Basil juice with honey or sea-salt; or basil leaves in plain yogurt 3-4 times a day is useful
- A fresh garlic clove eaten, swallowed with water, is anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal. It relieves diarrhea
The four common food poisoning microorganisms are salmonella, campylobacter, E.coli, and norovirus. Pests such as rodents, cockroaches, and even flies carry all of these bacteria. At Hicare Pest Control, we have excellent services to suit your commercial or residential needs. This will make sure no pest will be able to spread food poisoning to you, your family or your customers again.