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Introduction to Food Poisoning

Also called the foodborne illness, food poisoning is a term that refers to anyillness that has resulted from the consumption of contaminated food. The foodthat causes such illness usually contains bacteria, parasites, viruses, ortoxins made by these germs. Infectiousorganisms can contaminate food at any point during its processing orproduction. Contamination can also occur at home if food is improperly handled,not cooked enough, or inadequately stored. Foodpoisoning can affect one person or a group of people who all ate the samecontaminated food. It more commonly occurs after eating at picnics, schoolcafeterias, large social functions, or restaurants.

It is a common, yet upsetting andat times life-threatening problem for millions of people in the United Statesand throughout the world.


Many bacterial, viral or parasiticagents cause food poisoning. There are about 250 diseases can betransmitted through food. However, this is believed not to be the final number.Many other causes are not reported because they only cause mild symptoms, andpeople tend to recover quickly.

The known causes of this condition are divided into two categories: infectious agentsand toxic agents. Infectious agents include parasites, viruses and bacteria.Toxic agents include not properly prepared exotic food, pesticides that remainon fruit and vegetables, and poisonous mushrooms.

People who are at higher risk ofgetting food poisoning are those whose immune system is weakened, such as olderadults, pregnant women, infants, and people with chronic disease.


The most common symptoms of this condition are: nausea accompanied by vomiting,diarrhea, weakness, headache, fever, abdominal cramps, fatigue, loss of appetite.

If the symptoms are mild, they will probably go on their own. However, if theyare severe, it is important that a person consult a doctor. It can causecomplications such as dehydration (this happens to children more often), whichcan be life-threatening.


If the cause of food poisoning is bacteria, then one should follow the courseof treatment that the doctor has prescribed (that is usually a course of anti-bacterialmedication). If the cause is some form of virus, then complete bed rest is recommended.And, to prevent dehydration, the intake of liquids instead of solid food shouldbe increased.

When it comes to home remedies, burnttoast and tea are known to ease the turmoil that the food poisoning has causedin the stomach. Also, eating bananas once a day after the symptoms have easedis beneficial. During andafter the food poisoning, mint essence as a herb is recommended. Apart from allthese, roots of Echinacea is also recommended because of its many medicinalqualities.

When it comes to treating children, it is of the utmostimportance that they stay hydrated. Parents should take extra care and giveplenty of liquid to their child. If the situation goes out of control, thechild should be taken to the doctor immediately.

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