Historically, the way of eating has evolved. Among other reasons, because science has already proven that in some situations, what is consumed can cause serious effects.
This is the case of poisoning, which, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), “occurs when the toxins produced by bacteria or molds are present in the ingested food or chemical elements in amounts that affect health.
It is clear and can be unpredictable because toxins are generally odorless or tasteless and are capable of causing illness even after the microorganisms have been killed.
“Symptoms of food poisoning, which can begin a few hours after eating contaminated food, often include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.”adds the organization.
Symptoms of food poisoning
Mayo Clinic explains that the symptoms of food poisoning vary depending on the source of the contamination. Even so, it is very common for one or more of the following signs and symptoms to occur:
- watery or bloody diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and cramps
“Signs and symptoms can start hours after eating the contaminated food, or they can start days or even weeks later. The nausea caused by food poisoning usually lasts between a few hours and several days”, adds the entity dedicated to clinical practice.
When is it recommended to see a doctor?
In the following situations, it is best to seek immediate attention.
- Frequent episodes of vomiting and inability to keep fluids down
- Vomiting or bloody stools
- Diarrhea for more than three days
- Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramps
- Oral temperature greater than 100.4°F (38°C)
- Signs or symptoms of dehydration: excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urine, severe weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness
- Neurological symptoms such as blurred vision, muscle weakness, and tingling in the arms
Causes of poisoning
Food contamination can occur at any point in production: growing, harvesting, processing, storage, shipping, or preparation.
“The cause is usually cross-contamination, that is, the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another. This is especially problematic in the case of raw and ready-to-eat foods, such as salads or other products. Because these foods are not cooked, harmful organisms are not destroyed before eating and can cause food poisoning,” adds the Mayo Clinic.
Among the transmitting spaces or reasons, there is contaminated seawater, contact with hands, coughing and sneezing, infected people who handle food, poor cooking or infected knives and cutting surfaces.
In that sense, detail that there are many bacterial, viral or parasitic agents that cause poisoning. Some are the following:
- Campylobacter. Symptoms appear 2 to 5 days later. It is related to the consumption of beef and poultry. They add that contamination occurs during processing if the animal’s feces touch the meat. It also occurs in the case of unpasteurized milk and contaminated water.
- Hepatitis A. Symptoms may appear up to 28 days after consuming raw, ready-to-eat products and shellfish from contaminated water. It can be transmitted through infected people who handle food.
- Listeria. The person feels the affectation from 9 to 48 hours after eating hot dogs, luncheon meats, unpasteurized milk and cheeses, and unwashed raw products. It can be transmitted through contaminated soil and water.
- Salmonella. The discomfort occurs 1 to 3 days after eating raw or contaminated meat, poultry, milk, or egg yolks. This bacterium survives poor cooking and can be transmitted through knives, cutting surfaces, or infected food handlers.