Food Poisoning Symptoms

The common, early food poisoning symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Food poisoning is also referred to as gastroenteritis, because it results in the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It is typically caused by ingestion of one of several microorganisms or of the toxins they produce.

Gastroenteritis symptom severity can vary depending on the type and number of the microorganism that was ingested. Complications such as dehydration and imbalance of electrolytes can result from the severe loss of fluids through diarrhea and vomiting.

Spread of the bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can cause food poisoning are typically from person to person. This can occur either directly through direct contact or through contamination of food or water by an infected individual.

The ingestion of that contaminated food or water then leads to passage of the microorganism to the next individual. This can be epidemic affecting large numbers of people in cases of large scale contamination or mass ingestion of contaminated materials.

Food poisoning symptoms:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • abdominal cramps (sometimes accompanied by loud abdominal rumbles)
  • diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • dehydration

Diagnosis of food poisoning is typically through physical examination and observation of symptoms, as well as historical documentation of meals, travel, or exposure to other ill individuals. Laboratory examination of a stool sample can be used to confirm diagnosis.

Treatment is typically palliative with bed rest and rehydration. In cases of severe vomiting and diarrhea, intravenous fluids and electrolytes may need to be administered.

Prevention of food poisoning is effective through proper hygiene practices and proper preparation and cooking of food and drinks (pasteurization).

Temporary isolation of infected individuals is also effective in controlling the spread of the microorganism.

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