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Food poisoning : Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis ,Treatment , Risk factors , Complications , Prevention

 What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is an illness that is caused by eating contaminated food. Infectious organisms, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites, are the most common causes of food poisoning.

Food can become contaminated at any point during production or processing. This can also occur if food is mishandled or cooked at home.

Symptoms of food poisoning, which can start within hours after eating contaminated food, often include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Most food poisoning is mild and resolves without treatment. But some people may need to go to the hospital.


What is food poisoning


Explanation of medical terms and concepts Food poisoning

Foodborne unwellness, additionally usually brought up as malady, is the result of uptake of contaminated, spoiled, or unhealthful food. The foremost common symptoms of malady embrace nausea, vomiting, and symptoms.

Although it’s quite uncomfortable, malady isn’t uncommon. per the Centers for Unwellness Management and Bar (CDC)Trusted supply, forty eight million folks within the US (or around one out of 7) contract some sort of malady per annum. Of these forty eight million folks, 128,000 square measure hospitalized.

Food poisoning occurs when food is spoiled or has been contaminated with bacteria viruses or parasites The contamination may occur at the grocery store during food preparation at home or in restaurants Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea vomiting and abdominal cramps

Food poisoning refers to harmful effects you can get from eating contaminated food or drink There are several kinds of bacteria parasites and viruses that can contaminate food and cause illness When foods are not stored at the proper temperature their quality becomes contaminated Contamination also occurs due to improper or inadequate cooking and cross-contamination (transferring germs from a raw food to another).

Symptoms Food poisoning

The symptoms of food poisoning can vary depending on the source of contamination. The most common types of food poisoning cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Watery or bloody diarrhea

  • Abdominal pain and cramps

  • Fever

If you eat contaminated food, you may start to feel sick right away. The illness caused by food poisoning generally lasts from a few hours to a few days.

When to see a doctor

If you experience any of the following symptoms, please seek medical attention.

  • A person may experience episodes of vomiting and difficulty maintaining liquids down.

  • Bloody vomit or stools

  • Diarrhea for more than three days

  • If you are experiencing extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping, go to the hospital.

  • A person's oral temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).

  • If you are dehydrated, you may experience excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness.

  • Neurological symptoms can include blurry vision, muscle weakness, and tingling in the arms.

Causes Food poisoning

Food can become contaminated at any point in its production process: while it's growing, when it's harvested, during processing, and even after it's been stored or prepared. Cross-contamination—the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another—is often the cause. This is especially a problem for raw foods that are ready to eat. Raw produce, such as salads or fruits, is not safe to eat if it isn't cooked. If these foods aren't cooked, harmful organisms cannot be destroyed and this can lead to food poisoning.

Food poisoning can be caused by bacterial, viral, or parasitic agents. The following table shows some of the possible contaminants that might cause symptoms and the ways that the organisms can be spread.


Onset of symptoms

Foods affected and means of transmission


2 to 5 days

Meat and poultry can be contaminated during processing if animal feces contact meat surfaces. Other sources of contamination include unpasteurized milk and contaminated water.

Clostridium botulinum

12 to 72 hours

Foods that are home canned should have a low acidity level. Foods that are commercially canned, smoked or salted, potatoes that are baked in aluminum foil, and other food items that are kept at warm temperatures for an extended period of time can spoil.

Clostridium perfringens

8 to 16 hours

Meat soups and gravies are commonly served when dishes are not kept warm or food is cooled too slowly.

Escherichia coli (E. coli)

1 to 8 days

Ground beef that has been contaminated with feces will spread bacteria throughout the food. It is most commonly spread by undercooked ground beef, but it can also be spread through unpasteurized milk and apple cider alfalfa sprouts, and contaminated water.

Giardia lamblia

1 to 2 weeks

Raw produce and water that may be contaminated by an infected food handler can be spread.

Hepatitis A

28 days

Raw, ready-to-eat produce and shellfish from contaminated water can be spread by an infected food handler.


9 to 48 hours

Unpasteurized milk, cheeses, and hot dogs are all potential sources of food poisoning. They can also be spread through contaminated soil and water.

Noroviruses (Norwalk-like viruses)

12 to 48 hours

Raw, ready-to-eat produce and shellfish from contaminated water can be spread by an infected food handler.


1 to 3 days

Raw, unpasteurized produce. Can be spread by an infected food handler.


1 to 3 days

Meat, poultry, milk, or egg yolks that have not been cooked sufficiently can become contaminated and spread to other food. These foods can be eaten raw or contact with the contaminated surfaces of knives or an infected food handler can spread the infection.


24 to 48 hours

Food that comes from seafood and produce that is ready to eat can be spread by an infected food handler.

Staphylococcus aureus

1 to 6 hours

meats and salads make cream sauces and pastries that can be spread by hand contact. These items can cause coughing and sneezing.

Vibrio vulnificus

1 to 7 days

Raw oysters and raw or undercooked mussels can be spread through contaminated water. Clams and whole scallops can also be eaten raw, but should only be eaten if they are cooked first.

Risk factors Food poisoning

If you become ill after eating contaminated food, it depends on the type of organism and how much exposure you had at the time of eating. High-risk groups include: people over the age of 65, people with a weakened immune system, and children younger than 5 years old.

  • Older adults.As you get older, your immune system may not react as quickly or effectively to infectious organisms.

  • Pregnant women.There are changes in your body's metabolism and circulation during pregnancy that increase the risk of food poisoning. Your reaction to food may be more severe during pregnancy. Rarely, your baby may get sick too.

  • Infants and young children.Their immune systems are not yet fully developed.

  • People with chronic disease.Having a chronic condition or receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer reduces your immune system's ability to fight infections.


Dehydration is one of the most common complications of food poisoning. If you are a healthy adult, and drink enough fluids to replace the fluids you lose from vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration should not be a problem.

If an infant, an older adult, or someone with a suppressed immune system or a chronic illness loses more fluid than they can replace, they may become severely dehydrated. In that case they may need to be hospitalized and receive intravenous fluids. Dehydration can be fatal in extreme cases.

Some types of food poisoning can have potentially serious complications for certain people. These include:

  • Listeria infection. If you get food poisoning from food that has listeria, the consequences may be most severe for an unborn baby. Early in pregnancy, a listeria infection may cause a miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, a listeria infection may lead to a stillbirth, premature birth, or potentially fatal infection in the baby after birth — even if the baby is born healthy. The mother was only mildly ill. Infants who survive a listeria infection may experience long-term health problems, such as neurological damage and delayed development.

  • Escherichia coli (E. coli). Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a serious complication that can damage the lining of the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, sometimes resulting in kidney failure. Older adults, children younger than 5, and people with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk for this condition. If you develop this complication, see your doctor as soon as possible. If you are in one of the risk categories, see your doctor if you experience profuse or bloody diarrhea.


To prevent food poisoning at home:

  • Keep your hands and utensils clean. Wash them often so that you don't spread germs to your food.Before and after handling or preparing food, wash your hands well with warm soapy water. Use hot soapy water to wash kitchen utensils, cutting boards, and other surfaces you use.

  • Don't mix raw and cooked foods.When shopping for food, preparing food, or storing food, keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish separate from other foods. This will prevent cross-contamination.

  • Cook foods to a safe temperature.Cooking foods to a safe temperature is easy to do using a food thermometer. This will kill harmful organisms, which means you can eat most foods without worry.
    Beef should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71.1 degrees Celsius); steaks, roasts, and chops such as lamb, pork, and veal should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62.8 degrees Celsius); chicken and turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.9 degrees Celsius); fish and shellfish should be cooked thoroughly.

  • Store perishable foods in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve them.It is important to store perishable foods within two hours of purchase or preparation. If the room temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), refrigerate food within one hour.

  • Defrost food safely.Do not thaw food at room temperature. The safest way to thaw food is to defrost it in the refrigerator. If you microwave frozen food, cook it immediately using the defrost or 50% power setting.

  • Throw it out when in doubt. If you are not sure if a food has been cooked or stored safely, discard it. Leftover food that is left at room temperature may contain bacteria or toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking. Do not taste food that you are unsure about; just throw it out. Even if it looks and smells okay, do not eat it - just throw it out. Olive oil may not smell very good, but it is safe to eat.

Food poisoning is especially dangerous for young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. These individuals should avoid the following foods:

  • Raw or rare meat and poultry

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked fish or shellfish. This includes oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops.

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs, as this may contain bacteria that can make you sick. Some recipes that include raw eggs include cookie dough and homemade ice cream.

  • Raw vegetables such as alfalfa bean clover and radish sprouts

  • Unpasteurized juices and ciders

  • Unpasteurized milk and milk products

  • Cheeses that are soft, such as feta cheese and blue cheese; and cheese that has not been pasteurized.

  • Refrigerated pates and meat spreads

  • Do not eat uncooked hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats.

Diagnosis Food poisoning

Food poisoning is often diagnosed based on a thorough history of your illness, including how long you've been sick and the specific foods that you have eaten. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam to look for signs of dehydration.

Your doctor may conduct diagnostic tests in order to identify the cause of your symptoms and confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include a blood test, stool culture, or examination for parasites.

If your doctor suspects you have food poisoning, they will send a sample of your stool to a lab for testing. If an infection is found, the doctor will likely tell the health department about the food poisoning and ask if there is an outbreak happening in your area.

Sometimes the cause of food poisoning cannot be determined.

Treatment Food poisoning

If you get food poisoning, the best way to treat it usually depends on the source of your illness and the severity of your symptoms. Most people get better within a few days though some types of food poisoning may last longer.

Treatment of food poisoning may include:

  • Replacement of lost fluids. If someone has persistent diarrhea or vomiting, they may need to be hospitalized so they can receive mineral supplements. Dehydration can be prevented or treated by giving fluids intravenously.

  • Antibiotics. If you have food poisoning and it is caused by a certain kind of bacteria, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help treat the illness. If you get food poisoning caused by listeria, you will need to be treated with intravenous antibiotics during hospitalization. The sooner treatment begins, the better. During pregnancy, prompt treatment is especially important to prevent serious health complications. If the baby is infected with the flu, antibiotics may help keep the infection from spreading to the baby.
    It is not possible to treat food poisoning caused by viruses with antibiotics. Antibiotics may make the symptoms of viral or bacterial food poisoning worse. Talk to your doctor about your options if you get food poisoning.

If you have diarrhea that isn't bloody and don't have a fever, you may be able to relieve your symptoms with loperamide or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol). Ask your doctor about these options.

Lifestyle and home remedies

If you get food poisoning, it often gets better without treatment within 48 hours. To help with your recovery, try the following: drink plenty of fluids, rest, and avoid spicy foods and heavy drinking.

  • Let your stomach settle.Hold off eating and drinking for a while.

  • Drink small amounts of cold water or ice chips to ease the pain.You might try drinking clear soda, clear broth, or non caffeinated sports drinks. You might also try oral rehydration solutions if you have severe dehydration symptoms or diarrhea. It is important to drink enough fluids when you are urinating normally and your urine is clear and not dark.

  • Probiotics.Your doctor may recommend trying probiotics, but before doing so, ask them.

  • Ease back into eating.Start eating bland, low-fat foods that are easy to digest.If you feel sick again, stop eating.

  • Wait until you feel better before eating or drinking anything.Some of these things include dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and foods with a lot of spices or flavor.

  • Rest.If you have the illness or are dehydrated, this can make you weak.

Preparing for your appointment

If you or your child needs to see a doctor, your primary care provider will likely be the first person you see. If there are questions about your diagnosis, your doctor may refer you to an infectious disease specialist.

What you can do

Preparing a list of questions will help you have a productive visit with your doctor. Some questions to ask may include:

  • What is the likely cause of the symptoms? Are there other possible causes?

  • Is there a need for tests?

  • What is the best way to treat this condition? Are there other approaches that might work?

  • Do you need medication? If so, is there a generic version of the medicine you're prescribing?

  • How can I ease the symptoms?

What to expect from your doctor

The doctor may ask some questions, such as:

  • Do you have any family members or friends who have developed similar symptoms? Have you eaten the same things?

  • Have you ever been to a place where the water or food might not be safe?

  • Are you having bowel movements with blood in them?

  • Do you have a high fever?

  • Did you take antibiotics in the past few days or weeks?

  • When did symptoms begin?

  • Have the symptoms been present for a long time or do they come and go?

  • What have you eaten recently?

What you can do in the meantime

Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Avoid eating stress-causing foods. If your child is sick, follow the same approach — offer plenty of fluids and bland food. If you're breastfeeding or using formula, continue to feed them as usual.

Talk to your child's doctor before giving them oral rehydration fluids (Pedialyte Enfalyte others). Older adults and people with weakened immune systems might also find these solutions helpful. diarrhea medications are generally not recommended for children under the age of six. Children are involved in this activity.

General summary

Seek emergency medical attention as soon as you possibly can The fastest way to treat food poisoning is with antibiotics which are available at a hospital or doctor's office and have been shown to be effective in the treatment of food poisoning Antibiotics may be given intravenously (into a vein) if severe symptoms prevent you from taking other medications by mouth

How do you deal with food poisoning?

Food poisoning is a common occurrence in the United States Each year there are more than one million cases determined to be foodborne-related illnesses due to bacteria viruses or parasites that result from contaminated foods While most foodborne illness is not fatal it can cause serious health complications and even death in some instances

How long does it take to recover from food poisoning?

You will probably feel better in a few hours Rest assured that you haven’t permanently damaged your digestive tract but the experience may be so miserable that you never want to see meat or eggs again – or at least for a while The doctor may recommend an antidiarrheal medicine to make your symptoms more bearable and to give you something else to focus on besides your discomfort

When do you feel sick from food poisoning?

There are many different symptoms of food poisoning Common ones include vomiting severe diarrhea and abdominal pains Additional symptoms can include fever and headaches Vomiting or diarrhea could be confused with the flu or a stomach virus because they tend to occur suddenly and without warning Unlike the flu and most other gastrointestinal viruses through food poisoning is caused by contaminated food or water that has been handled incorrectly stored improperly or prepared by someone who did not take proper health precautions during meal preparation

How do you know the difference between a stomach virus and food poisoning?

You're not sure if it is food poisoning or a virus but you're feeling sick to your stomach It's possible for either food poisoning or a virus to cause you to feel nauseous and have stomach cramps Here are some differences between the two: Food Poisoning vs Stomach Virus The duration of sickness from each condition usually differs; with most cases of food poisoning lasting just 24 hours while a stomach virus may last up to 10 days or longer Symptoms from both conditions usually include vomiting and diarrhea but the onset varies greatly depending on what is causing them; for example food-borne illnesses

How do you treat food poisoning or stomach flu?

Food poisoning is usually caused by bacteria a virus or other harmful microbiological organisms It can result from food becoming contaminated during preparation at home or in restaurants and other public areas Food poisoning symptoms generally occur within one to three days of exposure to the causative agent and include nausea vomiting and diarrhea; however they may take weeks before they are noticed The most common causes of food-borne illness in the U.S include norovirus (vomiting and diarrhea) salmonella (diarrhea) and Escherichia coli O157:H7 (diarrhea)

Can you pass on food poisoning?

In a word yes You can get food poisoning by eating contaminated food or drink or by handling food or drink that is contaminated The most common source of foodborne illness is eating or drinking contaminated foods containing harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E coli But people can also be infected if they ingest viruses from infected human feces in foods such as shellfish Food handlers usually are the culprits behind cases of food poisoning caused by toxin-producing strains of Clostridium perfringens and Staphylococcus aureus while pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7 cause

Can food poisoning make you dizzy?

Dizziness is a common symptom of various underlying medical conditions including infections and certain diseases In addition certain foods can cause dizziness as a result of the chemicals they contain or their extreme temperature at the time of consumption

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Food poisoning : Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis ,Treatment , Risk factors  , Complications , Prevention

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