Healthy Living

What are the Bacteria that Cause Food Poisoning?

What are the Bacteria that Cause Food Poisoning?

Key Takeaways

  • Different bacteria can trigger different food poisoning symptoms in people.
  • Most food poisoning cases are mild and subside on their own; however, in some cases, medical intervention may be required, depending on the severity of the infection.

Clearly, contamination and pollution have become a part of our everyday lives. Whether it is the contamination of air, water, or food, to a large extent it is all inevitable. This contamination of everyday substances gives rise to various illnesses that sometimes can culminate into a more serious form. One such form of contamination is what results in food poisoning or food-borne illnesses. Food-borne diseases are not rare and are caused by various bacteria impacting the foods we take. Some organisms causing the infection also belong to the parasite and virus class. These microorganisms contaminate our foods by leaving behind traces of toxins present in them.

There is no specific place where these microorganisms can infect our foods. The contamination can happen at the point of handling, processing, packing, cutting, or even cooking. Again, contamination of foods can occur at home when the food is not handled appropriately or where levels of hygiene are not maintained.

The most common symptoms associated with food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, which can start within an hour of catching the infection. In most cases, food poisoning cases are not very severe and can be treated at home with medications and certain home remedies; however, in some severe cases, hospitalization may be required. Once again, food poisoning symptoms, which can start within hours of eating contaminated food, often include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Most often, food poisoning is mild and resolves without treatment, but some people need to go to the hospital.

What are the Types of Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is caused by various types of organisms, and each one has its own set of symptoms and level of severity. Some of the more common forms of food poisoning include:

  • Campylobacter Infection: This form of infection is triggered by a bacteria known as campylobacter. The prime symptom associated with this form of infection is chronic diarrhea. This infection is usually transmitted by consumption of food, water, or milk that is contaminated by the bacterial infections. Direct contact with animals, babies, or pets having this infection can also easily spread the disease. This infection can become serious, particularly for those suffering from weakened immunity levels. In certain cases, the infection could also result in other types of problems other than food poisoning, such as reactive arthritis, nerve problems, or problems associated with the brain. This infection is normally identified by performing a stool test wherein the presence of this bacteria is detected. Some of the most common symptoms of this infection include:
    • Severe diarrhea, sometimes with traces of blood
    • Vomiting or nausea
    • Cramps or intense pain in the abdomen or the stomach
    • A feeling of discomfort or malaise
    • Mild or high-grade fever

In most cases, this infection heals on its own without any treatment in a time span of about two to five days. Since this infection causes acute diarrhea, it is extremely important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. Since this is a bacterial infection, the doctor may recommend certain antibiotics to treat the infection.

  • Salmonella Infection: This form of infection is not very serious and rarely causes any casualties. However, a severe form of salmonella infection could lead to a medical condition named reactive arthritis in certain people, which could cause symptoms like pain in the joints, irritation in the eyes, or urination problems. The pain in the joint could eventually cause chronic arthritis. The salmonella infection can happen to any age group of people, although the most common targets of this infection are those suffering from weakened immunity levels. This infection can be prevented by being cautious when eating meat or poultry by-products, including eggs. Cross contamination can also cause this form of infection, as one consumes foods cooked with the same utensils as those used for storing the infected raw food products. In case you are suffering from the salmonella infection, you should refrain from cooking or cutting food, as you could easily transfer the infection. Washing hands before cooking and before eating are extremely important to keep this form of food infection at bay, particularly if you are handling animals of any kind. This infection can be easily diagnosed by testing the stool sample of the patient in which the bacteria may be identified. This infection usually takes about five to seven days to fade away and is normally treated without any medical intervention. However, in some cases, antibiotics may need to be administered to treat this infection.
  • Shigella Infection: Shigella form of bacterial infection is normally passed through feces of the infected. It triggers dysentery, which is an infection that affects the intestines, resulting in a chronic form of diarrhea. This bacterial infection is very commonly found in crowded areas with poor levels of hygiene. Like other forms of food poisoning related bacteria, the shigella bacteria is normally diagnosed in the stools of the infected. People with a milder form of shigella infection can recover in a span of few days without any specific treatment. It is very important to keep up the water intake so as to prevent dehydration. However, in the case of a more severe form of this infection, antibiotics along with hospitalization may be necessary until the patient recovers from the infection. To avoid this form of infection, it is very important to maintain high levels of hygiene. Washing hands after using the washroom is very important to keep the spread of such bacterial infections to a minimum.
  • Listeria Infection: Listeria infection is a more severe form of food poisoning or food-borne illness that sometimes could even result in death. This infection can be diagnosed through blood and spinal fluid tests. Antibiotics need to be administered for a complete recovery from this form of infection. This form of infection, when it affects a pregnant woman, can increase her chances of passing the same to the growing fetus inside her. In a case of elderly people, this infection can even cause death.

Are Home Remedies Helpful in Treating Food Poisoning?

Although food poisoning is caused by bacteria which call for an antibiotic treatment, the milder cases can be effectively dealt with using certain home remedies. Along with home remedies that are without any side effects, you should analyze your situation, in case you require medical advice to treat the condition. Sometimes food poisoning can get serious, and hence the symptoms of the same should not be ignored. Some of the simple and easily available ingredients that can help in treating food poisoning include:

  • Ginger: Ginger, either in the form of ginger ale or the root or juice, is found to be extremely beneficial in treating a number of stomach related problems. A number of symptoms that are associated with food poisoning, like nausea or bloating of the stomach, can be dealt with consuming ginger in various forms.
  • Lemon: Lemon is a citrus fruit that just by its smell helps in alleviating symptoms like nausea. Lemon contains certain antibacterial properties that can help the body get rid of the bad bacteria that trigger food poisoning. Lemon juice, when consumed with hot water at least once or twice a day, helps in flushing out the toxins from the body that could cause internal havoc.
  • Garlic: This is one of the most powerful natural ingredients from your kitchen that could help in fighting food poisoning due to its antibacterial and anti-viral properties. It also helps in treating symptoms of diarrhea and pain in the abdomen.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This ingredient is known for its ultra cleansing properties. Drinking apple cider vinegar mixed with part water helps in flushing out the harmful toxins from the body and thereby helps in treating severe symptoms of food poisoning.

Final Thoughts

There are multiple types of bacteria that may cause food poisoning, but they are generally harmless. However, in the case of severe symptoms, food poisoning should be treated by a medical professional.