Food poisoning, or food borne illness, is a disease caused by eating food contaminated with infectious microorganisms or toxins. The infectious organism can be bacteria, a virus, or a parasite. Poisoning is very common in meat, chicken, fish, and eggs. But it may also be found in other food items, whether stored or used fresh. Contamination of food may also happen due unhygienic habits, like having food without washing hands properly. The severity of this disease varies from mild to very severe. Mild cases of food poisoning may resolve on its own without any specific treatment. But the serious cases may require medical attention.
Some of the most common symptoms of food poisoning are:
Some of the other symptoms may depend on the microorganism that is causing food poisoning. Continuous vomiting and diarrhea may result in dehydration. This can be identified by dryness of the mouth, dizziness, and dark colored urine. One can be sure that it is food poisoning, if others who had the same food also develop similar symptoms. If vomiting and diarrhea persists for a several days, one should meet the doctor to avoid dehydration.
One should seek medical attention if:
- The frequency of vomiting or diarrhea has increased
- There is blood in vomit or stool
- Pain is severe with abdominal cramps
- Body temperature is higher than 101oF
- There are symptoms of dehydration
- Muscles are weak
- There is difficulty in swallowing
Food may get contaminated during the different stages of growing, harvesting, processing, storing, and preparation. Contamination is common in raw foods, as it is not cooked and the infectious germs are not killed.
Some of the common food items that cause food poisoning include:
- Raw meat and poultry
- Ready to eat food like sliced meat
- Soft cheese
- Packed sandwiches