What causes food poisoning?
Food poisoning usually occurs when you eat food or drink water that contains bacteria, parasites, viruses, or toxins. Some of the most common and dangerous bacteria being salmonella, listeria, campylobacter, E. Coli and Shigella – a bacteria often associated with faeces and spread by dirty hands and flies. Symptoms generally develop a few hours to a few days after you’ve eaten contaminated food and depend on the organism or germ that has entered into your system.
You could start to feel the effects of the poisoning as quickly as an hour after your meal, with the most serious cases lasting up to 72 hours and occasionally longer. Symptoms can obviously vary on the severity of your infection and range from minor discomfort to sever sickness and high temperatures. The most common effects of food poisoning are:
- Abdominal cramps
Who is most at risk?
As with any form of illness, it’s the most vulnerable who are in the most danger. Babies and very young children are at the greatest risk, along with the elderly, pregnant women, sufferers of diabetes, HIV and cancer. If this includes you, or anyone you know then you should seek medical advice as soon as you can.
What you should do
In most cases you will recover in a couple of days. The secret is to try and make yourself feel as comfortable as possible until the symptoms pass, as well as making sure your body has the proper amount of fluids and nutrients. Dehydration is the most common complication caused by food poisoning and you can drink oral rehydration mixtures to replace fluids and minerals lost through vomiting and diarrhea. If diarrhea becomes a problem there are a number of over the counter medicines you can take, but you should always consult a pharmacist, especially if you are on any form of medication.
If symptoms persist
If your symptoms persist or get worse then it could be time to consult a doctor. Blood on the stool, a temperature over 100 degrees, persistent vomiting or diarrhea and dizziness might suggest something a little more serious and you should seek medical advice immediately.
Who was to blame?
If you feel that a food establishment was to blame for your poisoning you should take down all the details you can. Make a note of the restaurant that you dined at, what time you were there, what you had to eat and drink and anything else that might help you to pinpoint just what was the cause of your illness. If nothing else, it may prevent others from suffering a similar fate and you may be able to make a claim for compensation for the suffering you caused.
Author Byline: Written by journalist and blogger Matthew Crist on behalf of Minnesota personal injury specialists – TSR Injury Law.