- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Prevent Foodborne Diseases aka Food Poisoning
Why Am I Sick–Food Poisoning or a Virus?
One of the first questions a sick person may ask is, “Do I have a stomach virus or food poisoning?” Symptoms and treatment can be similar, making this is an important question because food poisoning may need to be treated with an antibiotic.
It might be impossible to avoid exposure to viral infections, but the right information can make preventing food poisoning entirely possible, especially in the home environment. Knowing how to escape it can keep you from wondering why you are sick.
In light of the serious risks of food poisoning, especially for children, the elderly, pregnant women and their babies, and those with compromised health, everyone should know the basic causes of food poisoning. The best news is that practical carefulness does prevent foodborne diseases.
A note about home remedies to keep in mind is that you should carefully research both the benefits and sides effects of products such as activated charcoal because all food poisonings are risky diseases and some are much more dangerous than others. Educate yourself ahead of time!
First, What to do if a Foodborne Disease Strikes
Informing yourself ahead of time so you can evaluate symptoms and seek medical help if one of these bad boys strikes is the best first step. The Centers for Disease Control Trends page includes statistics and other information noting which of the foodborne illnesses are on the increase.
Even with all the information available many people don’t always think to blame their stomach upset on food poisoning. How to tell the difference between a foodborne illness and a bug (stomach virus) is not usually an easy task.
The tell-tale sign is whether anyone else in the same household has the same symptoms at the same time. Since a stomach bug will ordinarily go through a household one person at a time, you can be fairly certain that when everyone is sick at the same time, food poisoning is the culprit.
It will most often cause family members to be sick all at once or within just a few hours of each other. It is helpful to know that the symptoms are similar to a stomach bug’s vacation at your house and that the treatment is generally the same.
Foodborne infections have symptoms of vomiting followed by diarrhea and both can be severe. It’s no surprise that headache, stomach/intestinal discomfort, and fever can also come with food poisonings.
When the symptoms are severe it is important to get the advice of a doctor. If you have a family physician a phone call can often give you the direction you need for yourself or a family member. Otherwise, it may be necessary to endure a visit to an emergency room.
Dehydration is the most common upshot of food poisoning. This is a serious concern but it can often be managed at home. Every attempt to diminish it should be made through regular intake of small amounts of liquid once the worst passes.
If you are laughing at my puns, feel free to indulge. There’s little enough to laugh at when it comes to these dehumidifying infections. Taking care if you come down with one is important, but the best route is avoidance.
Have you ever had food poisoning?
Two Primary Considerations for Prevention
Causes of food poisoning can range from contact with animals (reminds me of going to a fall festival and seeing a food vendor pet a dog that wandered up and then serve her food) to inattention in the kitchen, and that last one covers more territory than I am going to write about in this hub.
The statement “contamination causes food poisoning” is a bit of an understatement if we consider the scope of the problem. Some say that “the devil is in the details” because overlooking small things causes serious problems and if you’ve ever had food poisoning you would agree.
“The truth is in the details” also fits the bill because the truth that overlooking small things truly is the root of problem. For some, it’s a lack of knowledge, maybe for others it’s a “such is life” attitude, but either one can be deadly.
1. Why Care About Handling Foods Appropriately?
Properly handling, storing, and cooking foods is collectively one of the key ingredients to the food safety recipe. From selecting a food purchase straight through to consumption, making safe practices the norm is the best way to protect ourselves, our families, and friends.
Habits of thinking issues like how grocery carts are contaminated with raw chicken packaging and how our hands transfer bacteria and even parasites from unwashed fruits and vegetables to our faces and our children’s hands which then go in their mouths is the beginning of food safety when shopping.
Being armed with knowledge allows us to safely navigate the world of bad bacteria that we are up against. Take a minute to check out the following sites for some solid facts about how to protect yourself and others from food poisoning. Get educated and stay safe:
• Do you know that 700,000 people die of food poisoning in Asia each year?
• Do you know that some forms of food poisoning effectively act as nerve toxins?
• Do you know that it is important to include food poisoning information when educating kids?
• Do you know that the FDA provides us with information on natural toxins that occur in common foods like apple juice?
• Do you make your sandwiches on a countertop or do you use a clean plate or tray?
2. Cleanliness Counts--GIve It Due Credit!
Wash your hands. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, mouth, or hair. Wash your hands. Clean your doorknobs. Wash your hands. Clean your kitchen. Wash your hands. Clean your bathroom. Wash your hands. Clean your phone. Wash your hands.
We all know the rules but they don’t quite provide the details required for safety. Research continues to develop and reliable sources are where we want to obtain details that we need. The following sites have authoritative information on overlooked sources of foodborne illnesses.
Everyone knows we need to work with clean pots, pans, and utensils when cooking, as well as eat from clean dishes, and drink from clean cups and glasses. These sites might surprise you with information on some surfaces that have special cleaning needs:
• How clean should our refrigerators be?
Start at the Store--and Use Hand Wipes after Handling those Juicy Chicken Packages!
• Questions about granite countertops?
• How clean should dish sponges and the dishcloth be?
• Who washes the surface of a banana?
• Do fruits and veggies have both bacteria and pesticides on them?
Sure, we would rather think about more interesting things, but since it is a matter of health we would do well to heed the rules, listen to the advice, and make any needed changes.
Avoid Cross Contamination
Extra, Extra! Here's More Info on Foodborne Diseases
• A teacher's interactive site for foodborne illness to help kid's learn to protect themselves, then teach others!
• A helpful guide to washing produce for everyone's benefit.
• An FDA provided chart for consumers.
• Quiz the kids to find out what they don't know then help them learn what they don't know.