Food Poisoning --Top 7 Causes and
Remedies

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May 25, 2011, last updated June 11, 2013
By Michael Chang, Contributing Columnist








It has happened to us all -- food poisoning. According to the  
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food poisoning
results in approximately 48 million illnesses, 128,000
hospitalizations, and up to 3000 deaths annually in the United
States.

The absolute and utter pain permeating from your stomach after
eating some bad food. Maybe it was undercooked; maybe it was
going bad. Perhaps, it was from food contaminated with toxins
or bacteria. Whatever the reason, food poisoning is a common,
usually mild illness that inflicts virtually everybody as least once
in a lifetime. And those who have experienced the worst of this
illness know that it is not a pleasant experience.

While the majority of food poisoning cases result in simply
discomfort and frequent trips to the bathroom, some can indeed
result in further complications or even death. According to the
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, food poisoning
results in approximately 48 million illnesses, 128,000
hospitalizations, and up to 3000 deaths annually in the United
States.



Symptoms of Food Poisoning

The symptoms of food poisoning vary depending on the
contaminant; however, the majority of food-born illnesses
resembles the intestinal flu and lasts a few hours to several
days. Symptoms can include abdominal cramps, nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea, fever, dehydration, and even bloody stools.
While most cases are mild and not cause for serious concern,
sometimes, they can be deadly. In fact, in many developing
countries, diarrheal diseases—which are largely preventable and
treatable—are of the leading causes of deaths.


Causes of Food Poisoning




























1.) E Coli Bacterial Contaminants on Foods

One of the most common ways to get food poisoning is by
consuming food that has been contaminated by different types
of bacteria. Bacteria can infect your intestines, resulting in
inflammation, which prevents absorption of the nutrients and
water and leads to diarrhea. Bacterial contamination can also
result in food poisoning because some chemicals in foods are
poisonous to the human digestive system.

One particularly common bacterial is Escherichia coli, or more
commonly known as E coli. While like most causes of food
poisoning, you will probably just have an unpleasant bout of
diarrhea and nausea, illness from the bacteria can be potentially
deadly.

In about 3-5% of all cases, the worst strains can cause kidney
failure and death. These bacteria can be transmitted through the
consumption of raw or undercooked hamburgers, unpasteurized
milk, or even infected water sources. So, make sure to cook
your burgers all the way and watch where you get your water
and milk from!

Eating out can introduce E.coli bacteria into your food through a
route you can't control --- lack of hand washing by cooks and
food preparers. If someone who prepares your food fails to
wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, they can
introduce fecal material which has E/coli bacteria into the plates
of food served to you.  

2.)
Salmonella in Undercooked Foods

With intense symptoms of nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea,
and headaches, salmonella infections stem occur when you
consume food contaminated with the bacteria salmonellae. The
illness can be transmitted when you consume undercooked
foods, such as eggs, poultry, dairy products, or seafood. Thus,
it is vital that you thoroughly cook these particular food items to
ensure that you don’t contract this unpleasant illness. Freezing
stops the bacterial growth, but does not kill the bacteria, while
refrigeration merely slows the growth of the bacteria. Thus,
when you are preparing food, it is important to properly cook
the eggs or chicken. Now, you know why your mother warned
against licking the tasty cookie batter from the spatula when
baking. (Read more about
how to stop diarrhea.)


3.)
Traveler’s Diarrhea

Travel guides often warn of traveler’s diarrhea when going to
different countries, particularly developing nations. Warnings
encourage those navigating through these countries to drink
bottled water, rather than from the tap. This particular illness,
“the Traveler’s Diarrhea,” characterized by fever, diarrhea
containing blood or mucus, and the constant need to go to the
bathroom, is caused by the bacteria shigella, which is
transmitted human waste-infested water sources. Thus, to avoid
any risk of ruining your vacation and getting sick, drinking
bottled water—and perhaps, brushing your teeth with filtered
water—is highly suggested.

4.)
Botulism

Botulism is a particular type of food poisoning caused by
clostridium botulinum, which results in severe illness affecting
the nervous system. This paralytic illness does not exhibit the
same symptoms as other food poisonings, such as vomiting or
diarrhea, but rather, more serious symptoms develop, such as
overall weakness, difficulty breathing, inability to move arms or
legs, and eventually paralysis and potentially death. Because of
the severity of the illness, hospitalization and professional
medical will be required.

The illness can be transmitted in foods such as home-packed
canned goods, honey, sausages, and even seafood. Because
young children and infants are more prone to botulism, it is
important to take extra precautions, such as avoiding feeding
honey to your children. Moreover, storing food in the open
canned goods container, rather than transferring it to a
Tupperware can increase the risk of this illness.  

5.)
Mushroom Toxins
Consuming wild mushrooms can potentially cause food
poisoning due to the toxins that can be on the fungus. While
illnesses stemming from toxic agents vary widely from mild to
deadly, depending on the type of mushroom eaten, the majority
of cases are relatively mild, causing the characteristic symptoms
of food poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Food illness from toxins are the least common cause of food
poisoning and usually, results in an isolated case of sickness.
(Read more about the connection between
toxins in your food
and common diseases).

6.)
Improper Storage of Food

Leaving any food—even cooked foods—out increases the
chances those potentially harmful bacteria is growing on your
next meal. For instance, if cooked food items are left out in room
temperature for a long time and reheated before consumption,
food poisoning can ensue.

This particular type of food poisoning is caused by closteridium
perfringens, which are present in stool, soil, and water and
enter the human boy through meats and dairy products. Unless
you want an episode of vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal
cramps, you should be sure to properly store all your leftover
foods shortly after dinner.

7.)
Consuming Produce without Proper Washing

Did you know that fruits and vegetables are a common source of
food poisoning? Fruits and vegetables today are grown with
heavy usage of pesticides to ensure that insects and other pests
do not ruin the crop. While this increases the amount of produce
production for human consumption, it becomes very important
for individuals to carefully watch fruits and vegetables before
eating them. Because pesticides are toxins, failure to properly
watch your pesticide-contaminated produce may result in food
poisoning. So, the next time you pick up an apple, think twice
before you take a bite into it without at least giving it a quick
rinse.

Remedies for Food Poisoning

Here's some good news. The majority of food poisoning cases
are relatively mild, despite being an unpleasant experience,
characterized by pain, discomfort, and frequent trips to the
bathroom. These short episodes of vomiting and diarrhea can be
cared for at home.

Avoid eating solid foods initially; however, you should drink
plenty of fluids, preferably water.

Avoid sugary drinks. Drinks with a high sugar content, including
sports drinks at full strength (undiluted),  can in fact, worsen
your food poisoning symptoms.

Start Eating Slowly. Once you can sustain consuming fluids, you
can begin eating slowly once the vomiting and nausea has
stopped.

Keep It Plain. Plain foods, including rice, wheat, bread, potatoes,
low-sugar cereals, and lean meats, are easy on the stomach and
are a great way to begin to incorporate food back into the diet.
Your body should naturally flush out the bacterial or viral
contaminants; however, if the food poisoning symptoms persist,
you should consult professional medical care.


Related:

Toxins and the Disease Connection
Natural Cleanses-Are They Dangerous?
Metallic Taste in Your Mouth -Causes and Cures

Ibuprofen Overdose -Top 10 Symptoms and Remedies
Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics
Foods That Lower Blood Sugar
Beat the Lows-Ideal Breakfasts for Hypoglycemia
Ideal Dinner for Diabetics
Directory of Sugar Content in Foods
Normal Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy
Ideal Breakfast for Heart Health
Why Americans Read In Bathrooms-The Hidden Epidemic of
Constipation
Bowels -3 Keys to Normal Bowels
Break Through Your Diet Plateau
How Many Calories Do I Burn
Fiber Rich Foods
Quinoa-The New Superfood?
Fish Oil Benefits-Let Me Count the Ways


Americans Are Dangerously Sleep Deprived
Sugar--The Disease Connection


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A deadly outbreak of food poisoning that
killed 3 young women in Germany in May
2011, has been linked to imported cucumbers

according to the BBC
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