Most of us have had food poisoning at some point in our lives whether it was caused by bad seafood, undercooked chicken, or contaminated water. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and they may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Not only can food poisoning affect your physical health, but it can also impact your mental well-being.
To help you determine whether or not you’re suffering from food poisoning, learn how to spot the symptoms of food poisoning by reading this article.
What Causes Food Poisoning?
A foodborne illness is any disease or condition that is caused by consuming food or water contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or chemicals. If you experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain within 12 hours of eating a meal out at a restaurant then it’s likely you have food poisoning.
While many cases can be attributed to mishandling or improper preparation of certain foods such as shellfish, not all cases are preventable. That’s why proper awareness is key. If you think you may have gotten sick from ingesting something that isn’t sitting right, go see your doctor immediately for guidance on treatment options.
According to Mayo Clinic, common symptoms of food poisoning include abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. While these symptoms aren’t unique to food poisoning, they’re usually prominent when compared with other gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.
Dehydration can be an issue too: if you’re vomiting and not replacing lost fluids, it might take a toll on your energy levels. If you start to feel lightheaded or weak at any point, seek medical help immediately.
Long-Term Side Effects
Long-term effects are a bit more difficult to track, but they can still be serious. Stomach upsets caused by food poisoning may lead to long-term stomach problems, including irritable bowel syndrome IBS and Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. The exact cause of IBS is unknown; however, it tends to run in families and often follows episodes of food poisoning or stomach infection.
Preventing Future Incidents
The best way to prevent food poisoning is by avoiding restaurants that appear dirty, keeping uncooked meats and eggs away from other foods, washing your hands thoroughly before preparing meals or touching your face, and thoroughly cleaning any surfaces that have been exposed to raw meat.
If you do become sick, it’s best not to visit a doctor since some foodborne illnesses may actually be contagious. Instead, get plenty of rest and avoid excessive physical activity in order to let your body fight off any bacteria that have entered your system. The worst-case scenario is losing a few days of work while you recover to make sure you stay on top of washing hands frequently when handling foods and cooking.
The most effective way to treat food poisoning is prevention: be cautious about where you buy your food and make sure that you cook your meals thoroughly. If you or someone in your family has had symptoms of food poisoning, it’s important to contact a doctor or health care professional immediately.
In some cases, home remedies can be used if they’re caught early enough but some illnesses require more serious treatment. For example, E. coli and salmonella are very common causes of food-borne illness and require immediate medical attention; do not try treating these on your own without expert advice first.