The Dangers of Food Poisoning

Food Poisoning

When you visit a restaurant, you expect to be served thoroughly cleaned and cooked, safe food. When you purchase perishable goods from a grocery store, you expect for these products to have been stored properly and labeled with the correct expiration date. When food providers fail to take this care to deliver you with safe and uncontaminated food, you run the risk of suffering from food poisoning.

Every year, there are approximately 76 million cases of food poisoning in the United States alone. Hundreds of thousands of these victims are hospitalized for treatment, and up to 5,000 victims die from these illnesses annually. Clearly, food poisoning is a relatively common phenomenon. Typically, it is caused by bacteria or salmonellae.

Typically, food becomes contaminated when it is exposed to fecal matter during the processing or harvesting procedures. Meats and produce that are not cleaned and cooked through can still possess these dangerous microorganisms when they are served an ingested. Meats and other perishables can also spoil if they are not stored properly. 

Most of the time, food poisoning is very uncomfortable but relatively mild. Rarely does it ever reach the point of being life-threatening. Depending on what type of contaminant has entered your body, you may experience any combination of the following symptoms:

·         Nausea

·         Stomach cramps

·         Vomiting

·         Diarrhea

·         Fever

·         Nervous system damage

If your diarrhea is bad enough, you can become extremely dehydrated. Sometimes, victims will also experience bloody diarrhea. If you ever notice your stools being off-color, as if they have blood in them, you should seek medical attention immediately.

While most people typically recover from food poisoning on their own without outside treatment, some severe cases will require professional medical attention. In general, however, most people are advised to follow these guidelines to avoid the worsening of symptoms and to have the speediest recovery possible:

·         Avoid dehydrating agents such as caffeine

·         Avoid dairy products, as they can upset the stomach

·         Avoid solid foods until the worse of the diarrhea has passed

·         Make sure you replace your lost fluids

Of course, if your condition persists or worsens over time, you should visit a doctor.