Wednesday, March 28, 2018 by Frances Bloomfield
Foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, is a gastrointestinal condition brought on by the consumption of contaminated, toxic, or spoiled foods or beverages. Though uncomfortable and irritating, foodborne illnesses aren’t uncommon: in the United States alone, it’s believed that around 48 million people experience a type of foodborne illness each year.
According to NIDDK.NIH.gov, there are three main causes of foodborne illness:
Anybody can acquire a foodborne illness, but some groups are more vulnerable to its effects than others. Elderly people, children, pregnant women, and people whose immune systems are severely suppressed are at higher risk of infection. Moreover, these individuals have a greater chance of developing complications associated with foodborne illnesses.
Depending on the source of the infection, the symptoms of foodborne illness can manifest within an hour or take almost month to do so. In that event, a person who has been infected will show any or all of the following symptoms:
The digestive system is most at risk when one acquires a foodborne illness. But there are cases where a foodborne illness worsens and leads to complications that impact other organs and organ systems. As per Patient.info, some of these complications and affected organs include:
The prevention of foodborne illness calls for proper food preparation rather than the consumption of a particular food. That being said, there are a number of foods that one can consume to speed up recovery from foodborne illness.
The most popular and most widely eaten of these foods are bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, otherwise known as the BRAT diet. All of these foods are bland and gentle on the stomach. Moreover, they’re generally low in fiber, which means that they can firm up stools and reduce the risk of diarrhea.
Eating yogurt is a must once the foodborne illness has passed. Not only will yogurt assist in the repopulation of healthy gut bacteria, but it will help the digestive and immune systems regain their normal functions.
A foodborne illness will typically resolve itself within the span of a few days. Barring the manifestation of severe symptoms (e.g. dehydration), no medical intervention will be necessary and home care will suffice. During this time, rest and hydration should be the priorities. Avoid fatty foods and caffeine as these can irritate the digestive tract. Over-the-counter medication to control diarrhea and inhibit nausea may be taken, but one should consult with a healthcare professional first before taking them.
To prevent a future case of foodborne illness, the following steps should be taken and always kept in mind:
Foodborne illnesses are infectious gastrointestinal diseases that occur whenever a person eats or drinks spoiled, contaminated, or toxic foods or beverages. Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and fever are just some of the symptoms of foodborne illness. Though foodborne illnesses usually last no more than a few days, they can lead to more severe complications that damage other parts of the body.
Foodborne illnesses are preventable. The keys to avoiding them lie in cleanliness, proper food preparation, and meticulous food selection.
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