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Food Poisoning: Its Prevention and Treatment

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The bacteria that contaminate food and causes food poisoning can multiply very quickly in certain conditions. Pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with chronic illnesses have a higher risk of food poisoning.

Take care when preparing, storing or serving food, particularly high-risk foods.

How to prevent food poisoning or avoid it

The best way to prevent food poisoning is to know the condition of the food you are eating and the best way to always know that is to be eating at home. You can control food storage and preparation at home than in places like restaurant.

Tips for avoiding food poisoning

Follow these few simple steps to prevent or avoid food poisoning:

  • Clean cutting boards, countertops, knives, and utensils before using them alongside other food items.
  • Wash your hands and utensils often.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  • When thawing meats, do it in a refrigerator. Don’t thaw them at room temperature.
  • Avoid putting raw and cooked meats on the same plate.
  • If knives have already been used to chop uncooked chicken, avoid using them to cut up other ingredients to be cooked.
  • Always cook meat thoroughly. Use a meat thermometer if needed. Ensure beef is cooked to at least 160°F, while chicken and other poultry should reach 180°F, and fish to 140°F.
  • Avoid eating or preparing any expired packaged food.
  • Throw away food in bulging or dented cans.
  • Refrigerate any leftover food that won’t be eaten within 4 hours.
  • Avoid eating wild mushrooms.
  • Avoid eating soft cheeses (particularly imported ones when you’re pregnant or have a weak immune system.
  • When at restaurants or social gatherings, don’t eat foods that have been outside the refrigerator for long periods of time.
  • When traveling abroad, avoid eating raw fruits or vegetables that haven’t been washed in an antimicrobial rinse. Don’t drink any unfiltered (or unboiled) tap water.

How to treat food poisoning

Most people that have food poisoning issues report that that the issues are usually mild and clear up in a few days. During that time, the goal should be to prevent dehydration.

Dehydration is when the body loses fluids and electrolytes (nutrients and minerals) it needs. Avoid solid foods and dairy products until you no longer vomit or have serious diarrhea. Once you are feeling better, get back into eating such foods and drinking again. Consider brand food names such as crackers, toast, and bananas.

Stay away from fried foods, spicy foods, dairy, and foods which are high in fat and sugar. Drink lots of fluids but avoid milk or caffeinated drinks and sports drinks as they are not healthy for the treatment of diarrhea. They do not replace the body’s electrolytes (minerals and salts) correctly for the prevention of dehydration.

When should I go to a doctor?

You can make an appointment with your doctor if:

  1. Severe diarrhea lasts for more than 3 days
  2. You see blood in your stool
  3. Frequent vomiting lasts for more than 2 days
  4. You are on diuretics and have diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  5. You have a fever over 101°F

Seek Emergency Care If:

  • Your stool is maroon or black or you find plenty of blood in your stool
  • You are having trouble breathing
  • You are vomiting blood
  • You have double vision or trouble moving parts of your body
  • You have severe abdominal pain or stomach cramping
  • You have trouble swallowing
  • You have symptoms of severe dehydration
  • You got food poisoning from eating mushrooms or shellfish
  • You feel like your heart is pounding

 

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