Food Poisoning 101

Food Poisoning 101

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Ick! “Ick” is an exclamation used to express disgust. Foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, earns its big “Ick!”. This nasty illness plagues 1 in 6 Americans yearly according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I hope you and your loved ones never experience this icky illness, but the odds are rough. Here’s the quick and icky 101 rundown about food poisoning in 3 quick questions and answers.

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is an unpleasant illness that can causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping or belly pain, and fever. There are many different germs that can cause this stomach distress. For example, viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Symptoms can happen almost immediate up to days or weeks later, depending on the cause. Food poisoning can affect people differently. Some people may have mild symptoms, while others look and feel awfully sick.

How do I make Food Poisoning go away?

Most of the time food poisoning is self-limiting, meaning it subsides without formal medical treatment. Due to the nature of symptoms, it is easy to get dehydrated where the body loses too much fluid with food poisoning. To prevent dehydration, take small, frequent sips of fluid throughout the day, or consider a electrolyte drink. Get plenty of rest to support recovery.

If symptoms persist longer than 3 days, worsen (e.g. increased belly pain, high fever), concerning symptoms appear (e.g. blood in stool), or the individual is unable to drink fluids, see a local Clinic Healthcare Practitioner or primary healthcare practitioner for evaluation to rule out causes that may require antibiotics or medication for symptom relief.

There are some people at higher risk for food poisoning, such as older adults, children, individuals with weakened immune systems, or pregnant patients. Folks with a higher risk should avoid partially cooked or raw animal products, unpasteurized or raw milk and juices, and soft cheeses without indication of being made with pasteurized milk. High risk persons with food poisoning symptoms should seek evaluation earlier as complications are more likely to occur.

How do I Prevent Food Poisoning?

Follow the CDC’s 4 Simple Steps at home to prevent food poisoning:

  • Clean: Was your hands and surfaces often
  • Separate: Don’t cross contaminate (e.g. raw meat, seafood, and eggs)
  • Cook: To the right temperature
  • Chill: Refrigerate promptly and keep your refrigerator below 40◦F

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

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