Monday, November 3, 2008

Emergency: Food Poisoning

Food poisoning, commonly referred to as food-borne disease, is a gastrointestinal disorder that is caused by eating contaminated food. Food contamination can be caused by a number of factors, parasites, bacteria, and fungi being the most common agents. If you think that you are safe from food poisoning and contamination because you freeze your food or heat them up well, you should have another think coming. Food can
be contaminated whether they are in your freezer or sitting quite comfortably in your storage cupboard. As such, it is better if you are equipped with the knowledge of how to handle food poisoning emergencies should they happen in your household.

1. Be aware of the symptoms of food poisoning.

Symptoms of food poisoning or food-borne disease vary in degrees depending on the severity of the contamination. Some of the most common and easily observed symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can start just hours after eating the contaminated food. Headaches, dizziness, and lack of muscle coordination are also apparent in more serious cases. Rashes, abdominal pain, and fever are also common occurrences. Watch out for these symptoms and apply the needed remedies fast.

2. Take note of the causes of food poisoning.

Food contamination can take place anywhere during the production process. It can happen at any point – growing, harvesting, processing, storing, shipping, or preparing. Cross-contamination — the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another — is often the cause. Narrowing down the possible causes of the contamination such as identifying the offending food item and the manner by which it was prepared can help in the treatment. Identifying possible causes can help isolate problem and narrow down treatment options.

3. Administer first aid that can reduce the symptoms.

With food poisoning, the best recourse is to just let the whole thing run its course. Diarrhea and vomiting happen because they are the bodies way of expelling harmful substances. However, this does not mean that they are comfortable and easy to deal with. Replenish lost body fluids by drinking water frequently. You might also try drinking clear soda, clear broths, or non-caffeinated sports drinks. Affected adults should try to drink at least eight to 16 glasses of liquid every day, taking small, frequent sips. A soft diet should help you during this time.

4. Avoid taking non-doctor ordered medications.

Depending on the severity of the case, a doctor may prescribe you to use some prescription drugs like antibiotics. This is especially true if the poisoning or contamination is caused by fungi or bacteria. However, avoid taking medications for diarrhea. These medications will inhibit the body's natural process of eliminating harmful toxins. If you feel that you need to take medications, consult your doctor about it first.

5. Get plenty of rest.

Food poisoning, including its symptoms, can take a lot out of anyone. Rest as much as you can as will undoubtedly feel weak especially for the first few days. Food poisoning usually lasts for about a week or two before you can feel quite recovered. If the weakness and symptoms persist, consult a doctor immediately.

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