What Are The Most Common Types & Symptoms Of Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning occurs when you eat toxic or contaminated food. The commonest clinical picture of food poisoning is diarrhea and vomiting. It calls for prompt medical care to prevent dangerous life threatening symptoms from coming on.

Most food poisoning cases are due to:

  • Bacteria: Bacteria are the most widespread cause of food poisoning. Commonly seen are – E. Coli, salmonella, C. Botulinum, Listeria and Campylobacter poisoning, which are known to creep around in our food.
  • Parasites: Food poisoning due to parasites is not very common. The frequently observed parasite in cases of food poisoning is Toxoplasma.
    Characteristically, it is found in cat litter boxes. Parasites stay in the GI tract undetected for years. On the other hand, people who have a weakened immune system and pregnant women develop dangerous symptoms of poisoning
  • Viruses: Viruses cause food poisoning too. The Norovirus causes severe food poisoning symptoms and in rare cases, it can be fatal too. Sapovirus, Rotavirus,and Astrovirus are less commonly seen. Hepatitis A is transmitted via food as well.

What Are The Main Causes Of Food Poisoning?

  • Disease causing agents can be found in almost all of the foods that we consume. Conversely, cooking more often than not kills the pathogens in the food before it reaches our plate and thus prevents poisoning.
    Raw foods are common sources of food poisoning because they haven’t been cooked. Likewise, vegetables and meat that have not been cooked well can harbor the pathogen and cause toxicity in us.
  • Sometimes, food will come in contact with the microbes in fecal matter. This happens when the person preparing the food does not wash his hands before cooking.
  • Meat, eggs, and dairy products are frequently contaminated. Also, water may get contaminated with microbes which cause poisoning.
  • Food poisoning is a very common condition. Statistically speaking, nearly everyone will have an episode of food poisoning at least once in their lifetime.
  • On the other hand, some people are at greater risk than others. Those who have a weak immune mechanism or suffer from an autoimmune disorder have a greater risk of poisoning and a bigger danger of developing complications due to the toxicity.
  • Pregnancy increases your risk, given that your body is trying to deal with alterations in metabolism and circulation during pregnancy.
  • Older people also more prone to food poisoning because their immune systems do not react rapidly to the pathogens.
  • Babies and children too are considered at-risk population since their immune mechanisms haven’t developed as yet.

Most Common Symptoms Of Food Poisoning

If you have food poisoning, it will definitely not go undetected. Symptoms are very apparent and tend to vary depending up on the source of the infection. Common cases of food poisoning usually manifest as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Exhaustion
  • Headache

Sometimes, food poisoning can be highly dangerous, if not managed timely. Symptoms of life threatening food poisoning are:

  • Diarrhea which lasts for more than 3 days.
  • Fever higher than 101.5° F.
  • Patient cannot talk.
  • Difficulty in seeing things.
  • Severe dehydration which manifests as – dryness of the mouth, little or no urination, and difficulty keeping fluids down.

In case of these symptoms, you need to get in touch with your health care provider straight away.