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Prevent Foodborne Diseases aka Food Poisoning

Updated on October 13, 2017
Oh, the many names of food poisoning!
Oh, the many names of food poisoning! | Source

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!

The facts on foodborne illnesses are our weapons for the war!
The facts on foodborne illnesses are our weapons for the war! | Source

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?

See results

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?

How much of a danger zone is a dirty fridge?

Manufacturers want you to have a healthy fridge!

Start at the Store--and Use Hand Wipes after Handling those Juicy Chicken Packages!

• Questions about granite countertops?

Consider this!

• How clean should dish sponges and the dishcloth be?

Ten protective tips.

Six bad habits.

• Who washes the surface of a banana?

Washing bananas.

Canadians wash theirs.

• Do fruits and veggies have both bacteria and pesticides on them?

Why we wash them.

Even organic needs washing.

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.

Could MS be related to food poisoning?

Kids Learn About Bacteria

Cross Contamination

Join this Discussion on Foodborne Illnesses:

Submit a Comment

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    2 months ago from the short journey

    Peggy Woods:

    Thanks for checking out this info. It is sometimes quite scary to see how food is handled by preparers. I have wondered whether cooking shows inadvertently mislead people about safe behavior with food.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    2 months ago from Houston, Texas

    This is an excellent article and reminder of how to stay healthy. All of those links you inserted added additional great information! Thanks!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    3 years ago from the short journey

    sgbrown:

    It really can make you think you will die, and some people actually do die directly from food poisoning. Eating out is a real risk, but we have to know how to be careful at home. The one thing that will make family members more careful than ever is to have a case of food poisoning themselves. They want to be educated after the fact!

  • sgbrown profile image

    Sheila Brown 

    3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

    Great information and tips! I have only had food poisoning once, I thought I was going to die! I had a friend who was a pharmacist and I called him. He said that since is was around 8 hours after I had eaten, I wasn't going to die, but that I might wish I would. I got it from eating chicken from a fast food place. I can't think of the name of it right now as I have never eaten there since.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    4 years ago from the short journey

    DDE:

    Thanks kindly for your visit and feedback on this food poisoning info.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Informative, useful and a thoroughly researched hub you have great thought in this hub.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    KoffeeKlatch Gals:

    Thanks for your feedback!

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Great hub. Important and useful information.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    JayeWisdom:

    Oooh--so sorry!

    The grocery stores here now provide cart wipes at the door, but I still carry my own for my hands. I agree--no matter how I hungry I am!

    Thanks bunches for coming by and adding your comments/feedback to this hub!

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 

    5 years ago from Deep South, USA

    I rarely catch "bugs", but early this year I had the misfortune to get norovirus. A little detective work narrowed down the source: my local supermarket. I now carry a packet of hand cleansing wipes with me and use two of them as soon as I get into the car, then a third to wipe down the steering wheel, car key, etc. I also no longer snack on something before I get home and thoroughly wash my hands with soap and water--no matter how hungry I am.

    I'm good about most of the kitchen/food handling tips you gave, but realized there are a couple that deserve more attention. Thanks for all the information!

    Great hub. Voted Up++ and shared.

    Jaye

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    PegCole17:

    You are right, it really is amazing to see the dirt that comes off the containers we bring home from stores, and the cross contamination from them during food preparation could be deadly.

    Thank you for coming by and adding confirming input to this post.

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 

    5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    These are important things to remember in food preparation. Your emphasis on hand washing is key to avoiding a lot of cross contamination. I also wipe down the outside of milk cartons and other stuff before putting it in the fridge. And I wipe off the tops of cans before I open them, too. It's amazing to see the dirt that comes off on the paper towel.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    LongTimeMother:

    I'm so glad you've never been assaulted by a food poisoning--thanks for adding that info to this hub! Garlic does indeed help prevent food poisoning, but it's not a surefire cure for all situations. We are traveling at the moment and I'm thinking about how careful I need to be during this trip!

  • LongTimeMother profile image

    LongTimeMother 

    5 years ago from Australia

    When eating in countries where I'm concerned about food hygiene, I try to buy meals that include garlic. So far the garlic has helped protect me ... or I've just been very lucky. :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    rajan jolly:

    Thanks kindly for letting me know that you found this useful. Appreciate your input!

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 

    5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    Thanks for sharing this useful info and links. Hardly anyone gets without getting food poisoning at least once in their lifetime. These tips are useful.

    Voted up.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Redberry Sky:

    Thanks much for letting me know that this was helpful to you. So appreciate your visit and feedback!

  • Redberry Sky profile image

    Redberry Sky 

    5 years ago

    Interesting and useful - it's so hard to remember all the rules about food, storage and hygiene! I learned a couple of things here - impotant information, voted up and more.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Dolores Monet:

    Granite is very beautiful, but it does require extra attention when used as a counter, as does any porous surface. Thanks for checking out this hub on food poisoning and for your input!

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 

    5 years ago from East Coast, United States

    So interesting. Reading one of the links, I see that you can't use bleach on granite top counters. I like to wipe down my kitchen counter with bleach every once in a while. This is making me reconsider granite which looks so beautiful. Maybe I'll stick with my plain old counter!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Debby Bruck:

    Thanks much for your feedback on this topic--I appreciate that you stopped in!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Mama Kim 8:

    Thanks very much!

    I hadn't thought of washing eggs but, but if they aren't going to be cooked through then it's a good idea! I look at them for cracks and cleanliness before buying them, and always thoroughly cook them. I do wash my hands after handling them when cooking/working in the kitchen, though.

    I also use the produce bags to handle meat packages, but it's important to remember that many people do not and they contaminate the carts as well as their hands. You are so right about the need to be careful for two when pregnant!

    Thanks so much for all of your feedback that has helped highlight the need to be careful about foodborne diseases!

  • Debby Bruck profile image

    Debby Bruck 

    5 years ago

    Dear RTalloni ~ Totally awesome and useful. An important topic to discuss today. We have many cases of E-coli, poor food handling, both from the field to our own table, besides in restaurants and elsewhere. We must be cautious and take steps to ensure our food is safe for consumption. You have provided a well organized Hub with many great and useful links. Blessings, Debby

  • Mama Kim 8 profile image

    Sasha Kim 

    5 years ago

    What a great hub with tons of wonderful advice... I hadn't considered washing my bananas. I do however wash the outsides of my eggs before cracking them... esp. if I'm going to under-cook them at all. Oh and thankfully my grocery store has started putting produce bags in the meat department. So now I stick my hand in the bag, grab my chicken package and then invert the bag around the package so nothing ever touches any nastiness ^_^ This is all especially important to think about now that I'm pregnant again.

    Fantastic hub! Voting a whole bunch and sharing!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    vespawoolf:

    Worldwide, the statistics are not good. Just this week I saw the following for the USA:

    http://www.ibtimes.com/fda-proposes-new-food-safet...

    Hopefully, education will help turn the tide of increasing food poisoning cases.

  • vespawoolf profile image

    vespawoolf 

    5 years ago from Peru, South America

    Unfortunately, food poisoning is a common problem in Peru. In part, it's due to a lack of attention or education about hygiene. We can do much at home to remedy the problem. These are great reminders. Thanks!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Julie DeNeen:

    Anyone who's had it definitely cringes at the thought. I think our bodies tell us it is dangerous stuff we are dealing with and all the alarms go off!

    Thanks very much for your feedback on this hub.

  • Julie DeNeen profile image

    Blurter of Indiscretions 

    5 years ago from Clinton CT

    I've only had food poisoning once and it was AWFUL. I read through this hub and cringed. For some reason I am scared of food poisoning more than anything else. Great job on this hub!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    teaches12345:

    I'm so sorry you had that experience. Salads and dressings can be a big problem. Once, I tasted a salad someone made to bring to a party and it was bad. Even though I did not swallow the bite I couldn't get it all out of my mouth and the day was an ordeal with food poisoning.

    Thanks much for stopping in to add your input to this hub!

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    5 years ago

    I had food poison once and it was due to salad dressing that was left out too long on the table. I wash all fruits and veggies before using or eating and I am a nut out keeping things sanitized in the home. Great post and one that will save lives. Voted up +++

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Julie2:

    There's a sense in which it should scare us, yet unless we want to live reclusively we just need to do our best to be informed and careful. Next to knowing how to avoid the problem, knowing how to address the symptoms if one of the food poisonings does strike is very important.

  • Julie2 profile image

    Julie2 

    5 years ago from New York City

    It scares the heck out of me. It makes you not want to travel or even eat out...

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Glimmer Twin Fan:

    Looking at the statistics country by country is stunning. This site has a simple chart that might surprise readers about stats in the USA:

    http://www.statisticbrain.com/food-poison-statisti...

    Thanks much for stopping in. Anyone who has had a foodborne illness will agree with you--hopefully never again!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Jamie Brock:

    I'm sorry you had that experience. It's hard to tell where you might have picked up that food poisoning since the others you ate with that evening were not sick, but if it came from pork you might want to do more research on the specific problems that can come from that exposure.

    You are on target though, it's a scary thing not to be carefully clean! People may get by with uncleanliness for a good while, but it's like making driving more than the speed limit a habit, eventually, there will be a ticket, or worse.

    Thanks much for coming by and adding to this discussion.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    AliciaC:

    Thank you for coming by, as well as for letting me know that you found this information helpful!

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Claudia Mitchell 

    5 years ago

    Wow! 700,000 people die from food poisoning in Asia each year. That is incredible! I have had food poisoning a couple of times in my life. Not fun and hopefully never again. Interesting hub!

  • Jamie Brock profile image

    Jamie Brock 

    5 years ago from Texas

    There is TONS of useful and important information in this hub.. thank you so much for sharing! Recently, I woke up in the morning feeling very thirsty with a headache and terrible nausea. I then started to feel my stomach getting upset. I went to the bathroom and well, lets just say, I ended up going to the bathroom a couple times more.. at the same time feeling terribly nauseous. Soon after I started feeling better but still weak. I felt 'off' that entire day. I don't know what it was but I suspect food poisoning. It was weird that no one else got sick and we all ate the same thing but I was working with raw pork for dinner the night before and I suspect somehow I got raw pork in my system via the counter top or something. I always try to clean all the surfaces when I am finished. Very scary! Needless to say, I have vowed to stay away from ground pork. Thanks for this hub.. voted up!

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Thank you for the useful information and the links about a very important topic, RTalloni. The videos are helpful too!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    kashmir56:

    Thanks kindly for stopping in and adding all of your input. There's a lot of information available on food poisoning, but we need to remind ourselves of the need to be careful. I appreciate your help in sharing this reminder!

  • kashmir56 profile image

    Thomas Silvia 

    5 years ago from Massachusetts

    Hi RTalloni great hub, it is so true that even if we are careful with handling food maybe someone else were not and they may have had germs from the flu on their hands when they were packaging that food . You just never know. Well done article !

    Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR

    RTalloni 

    5 years ago from the short journey

    Jackie Lynnley:

    We do have to be careful, but there isn't a lot we can do if someone else has been careless, is there? Thanks much for your visit and feedback on this hub.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    5 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Great hub. I am so careful about these things and you really have to be. I mean who would have thought you could get sick from lettuce? Now you can't just rinse it...

    Well I make sure I never get flu so if I do get these symptoms I can be pretty sure it is food poison. What a shame when it is not even our own carelessness, though.

    You have some great tip and it really is important to make children aware before they put food into their mouths.

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