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Food Poisoning Facts

Written by Courteney

Posted on May 3, 2016 at 7:58 pm

  • According to the CDC approximately 48 million (1 in 6) Americans contract food poisoning each year
  • Foodborne illness is preventable with proper hygiene and caution.
  • 128, 000 of these people end up in the hospital for their poisoning, and over 3,000 die annually.
  • Food poisoning affects the gastrointestinal tract in different ways depending on the person and the responsible illness, common symptoms include: diarrhea, vomiting, intestinal pain and cramping and fever.
  • Food poisoning is caused by food that is inadvertently contaminated by harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and other infectious organisms that are poisonous to humans. It can also be caused by traces of toxic chemicals.
  • The Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which presents as botulism can cause one of the more severe forms of food poisoning, leading to vision problems, muscle weakness, dizziness or even respiratory failure (resulting in death). It is most often caused by contaminated canned foods.
  • Aside from the immunocompromised, pregnant women, young children and the elderly are most likely to become more seriously poisoned.
  • It is recommended pregnant women refrain from eating any deli or sandwich meats as they may have traces of listeria that can be dangerous (or fatal) for an unborn baby.
  • There are over 250 types of known foodborne infections and illnesses.
  • Certain filter-feeding shellfish (like oysters) take in harmful ocean microbes or from sewage ejected into the sea.
  • Pre-made salad and greens can be the worst food to eat as it is often contaminated with fecal matter when washed and packaged. It is much safer to buy veggies and wash and prepare them yourself. This is a common reason for travel illness.
  • Generally speaking, unless you prepare food yourself you can never really be sure it isn’t contaminated.
  • Water that is without proper filtration is also a common cause of food poisoning during travel.
  • The CDC suggests the most common type of food poisoning is the norovirus which is caused by salmonella, clostridium perfringens and campylobacter.
  • Meats are sometimes contaminated during the animal’s slaughter with bacteria from their intestines that are healthy for animals but harmful to humans.


When to See The Doc

Most cases of foodborne illness resolve themselves after an unpleasant few days, but if your stomach sickness continues for more than 3 or 4 days, if there is blood present in your stool or vomit, if you can’t even keep liquid down, are dehydrated, experiencing dizziness or blurry vison or a persistent temperature of 101.d degrees or higher, it is time to seek medical help. If you have any questions about food poisoning or particular symptoms, feel free to sign up to DocChat today to try a video consultation with one of our highly qualified physicians! Thanks for visiting!

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