Food Poisoning Symptoms and Causes

Foodborne illness, more commonly referred to as food poisoning, is the result of eating contaminated, spoiled, or toxic food. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you have food poisoning, chances are it won’t go undetected. Symptoms can vary depending on the source of the infection. The length of time it takes for symptoms to appear also depends on the source of the infection, but it can range from as little as 1 hour to as long as 28 days.

Common cases of food poisoning will typically include at least three of the following symptoms:
• Abdominal cramps
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• loss of appetite
• Mild fever
• Weakness
• Nausea
• Headaches

Most food poisoning can be traced to one of the following three major causes:
1. Bacteria that cause food poisoning Bacteria is by far the most prevalent cause of food poisoning. When thinking of dangerous bacteria, names like E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella come to mind for a good reason.
Salmonella is by far the biggest culprit of severe food poisoning cases in the United States. According to the CDC, an estimated 1,000,000 cases of food poisoning, including nearly 20,000 hospitalizations, can be traced to almonella infection annually. Campylobacter and C. botulinum ( botulism) are two lesser-known and potentially lethal bacteria that can lurk in our food.

2. Parasites that cause food poisoning
Food poisoning caused by parasites is not as common as food poisoning caused by bacteria, but parasites spread through food are still very dangerous. Toxoplasma is the parasite seen most often in cases of food poisoning. It’s typically found in cat litter boxes. Parasites can live in your digestive tract undetected for years. However, people with weakened immune systems and
pregnant women risk serious side effects if parasites take up residence in their intestines.

3. Viruses that cause food poisoning
A virus can also cause food poisoning. The norovirus, also known as the Norwalk virus, causes over 19 million cases of food poisoning each year. In rare cases, it can be fatal. Sapovirus, rotavirus, and astrovirus bring on similar symptoms, but they’re less common. Hepatitis A virus is a serious condition that can be transmitted through food.

What’s good to eat when you have food poisoning?
It’s best to gradually hold off on solid foods until vomiting and diarrhea have passed and instead ease back to your regular diet by eating simple-to-digest foods that are bland and low in fat,
such as:
● Saltine crackers
● Gelatin
● Bananas
● Rice
● Oatmeal
● Chicken Broth
● Bland Potatoes
● Boiled Vegetables
● Toast
● Soda without caffeine (ginger ale, root beer)
● Diluted fruit juices
● Sport drinks

What’s bad to eat when you have food poisoning?
To prevent your stomach from getting more upset, try to avoid the following harder-to-digest foods, even if you think you feel better:
● Dairy products, especially milk and Cheese.
● Fatty foods
● Highly seasoned foods
● Food with high sugar content
● Spicy foods
● Fried foods

You should also avoid:
● Caffeine (soda, energy drinks, coffee)
● Alcohol
● Nicotine

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