is a condition that develops in a person who consumes contaminated or spoiled food or drinking contaminated water. Contaminated means the food or water contains bacteria, viruses, parasites or toxins which have the potential to make you sick. Most cases of food poisoning are caused by different types of bacteria, including Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Listeria, botulism, and norovirus. Although in many nations, deaths from food poisoning are rare, the World Health Organization estimates over 351,000 people die each year from food poisoning.
Symptoms vary greatly depending on the cause. Common symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps, and fever. Dehydration, a condition where the body does not have enough fluids, is a big concern if you have frequent vomiting and/or diarrhea. It is important to drink plenty of liquids to replace the water being lost.
It is important to realize that sometimes it only takes hours for symptoms to begin, while other times it can take days. High-risk groups for food poisoning include older adults, infants and young children, pregnant women, and anyone with a chronic disease.
A doctor will typically be able to diagnose the condition from the symptoms alone. However, a physical exam may be needed to check for dehydration. To try to find the cause, your doctor may test your blood or a stool sample. Treatment usually focuses on decreasing the vomiting and diarrhea, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting lots of rest. Antibiotics are rarely used. Prevention is important. It is important to wash your hands before and after handling food; keep cutting boards, countertops and utensils clean; keep raw foods separate from other foods; and make certain foods are cooked to the correct temperatures. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be washed carefully. Care should be taken when eating raw fish and shellfish such as oysters.