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Food Poisoning


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Information

Bacteria that have contaminated improperly stored, prepared, or preserved food usually cause food poisoning. Toxins produced when these bacteria multiply may be responsible for the illness, although some types of food poisoning are caused by the bacterial infection. In some cases, food poisoning occurs when someone mistakenly eats a poisonous plant or fish.

Since different types of food poisoning require different treatments, it is vital to learn exactly what a person has eaten in the preceding 24 hours. If at all possible, samples of suspected foods should be provided to health authorities.

Contaminated food may not look, smell, or taste unusual. Many outbreaks of food poisoning have been traced to innocuous-looking food prepared on an unclean surface or cut with a dirty knife.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning comes on suddenly within a few hours of consuming contaminated food. Symptoms may include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting.

Botulism is a potentially deadly bacteria that is has no odor or color. It causes a food poisoning that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms appear 18 to 36 hours after eating infected food. Symptoms of botulism are difficulty speaking or swallowing, blurred or double vision, difficulty breathing, weakness of the arms and legs, drooping eyelids, dry mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, and paralysis. IF YOU THINK BOTULISM, CALL 911.

First Aid for Food Poisoning

  • Do not try to stop vomiting or diarrhea, since these are the body’s methods of clearing out the poison.
  • Most attacks end within 3 to 6 hours.       Consult a doctor if symptoms continue longer.
  • Administer frequent, small amounts of clear liquids to prevent dehydration.
  • Treat stomach cramps by placing a hot compresses or heating pad over abdomen.
  • Do not offer food. Offer clear broth or Jell-O.
  • Call a doctor if symptoms do not improve, if fever or abdominal swelling develops or if blood appears in the vomit or stool.

Important Points to Remember

  • Cook all meat, poultry, and eggs until well done.
  • Get rid of food that has gone past the expiration date on package.
  • Get rid of any can of food that bulges or any food that has a strange odor or color.
  • DO NOT TASTE THE FOOD TO SEE IF IT IS EDIBLE.
  • Never eat wild mushrooms, plants or berries unless you know for sure they are safe.
  • Never eat any food if you are not sure it was properly cooked or canned.
  • Infants should not be given honey, either in foods or as a cough suppressant. Honey may contain botulism that affects babies.

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Food Poisoning

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