Unlike me, my dad is not a fan of sandwiches. He is a meat and veg man, which may possibly be the reason he has just had a particularly severe case of food poisoning.
On a recent trip out, my dad, my mum and I all had a meal of duck, new potatoes and salad. None of us were impressed the taste, but as we had never tried it before, we weren’t really sure what duck should have tasted like.
Neither my mum nor I, ate our entire portion of meat, although my mum said it tasted okay covered in brown sauce. My dad, however, persevered and ate all of his. Having lived through the war years he still has the mentality of “Waste Not, Want Not”, but I think that’s about to change.
He began to feel slightly ill the following day but after three days of sickness and diarrhoea he was admitted to an isolation ward at our local hospital. He nearly died.
My mum also suffered badly, but I was fine. However, I take probiotics every day and my immune system is much stronger than that of my parents.
Food poisoning affects about 750,000 people in UK each year and kills approximately 400. In the summer the cases of food poisoning double, most likely because of the amount of salads and barbecues. Meat has to be cooked thoroughly and many people burn the outside whilst leaving the middle raw. There’s definitely a knack to successful barbecuing.
One of the most common bacterial causes of food poisoning is Campylobacter, which can cause fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. The symptoms usually occur within 2 to 10 days of the contaminated food being ingested.
Using food past its Use By Date, poor hygiene, cross contamination and incorrect cooking temperatures can cause the poisoning, and whilst anyone can become ill from Campylobacter, it is the young, the old and those with a weakened immune system who are particularly susceptible – just like my dad.
Luckily he is now recovering, but has been advised not to take the tablets he’s been using to prevent his diarrhoea because they slow up the passage of the bug through his system. He needs to get rid of it fast BUT should replace the salts and nutrients lost and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
Campylobacter can be destroyed by careful hygiene, making sure you
* Wash your hands and work surfaces often with clean, hot, soapy water
* Separate raw and cooked food
* Store, refrigerate and freeze foods correctly
* Wash fresh foods thoroughly
* Cook at the correct temperature
* Ensure food is cooked thoroughly
Clearly, the restaurant where we ate needs to be reminded of this, but since it is a common occurrence; the best way to ensure you are not bothered by food poisoning is to boost your immune system with healthy probiotic bacteria. These are the good, friendly ones, which help overpower the harmful pathogenic bacteria, which cause so many health problems.
One piece of advice though, make sure you take ACTIVE ones, otherwise you’ll just be wasting your money. Good bacteria are no good if they are dead.