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Food Poisoning - Tips for prevention and treatment of Salmonella, E.coli and other bacteria.

Sunday, September 19, 2010
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Exams and tests:
The doctor will check for signs of food poisoning like dehydration and tenderness in the abdomen region. Clinical tests may be called for -on the patient’s blood, stool and vomit to find out the cause of the poisoning. Also leftover food is examined sometimes to get to the root cause of the problem.

The main aim while treating food poisoning is to avoid dehydration and make the patient feel better. Generally a person suffering from common types of food poisoning will recuperate within a couple of days, with proper care.

Tips for patient care -

  • Do not consume solid foods till the diarrhea has passed.
  • Avoid dairy products as it can worsen the situation, due to temporary lactose intolerance
  • Consume lots of fluid to replace body fluids lost either due to vomiting and diarrhea (no caffeinated beverages or milk)
  • Take a electrolyte solution every 2 hours (children need them more than adults)

Medication during a bout of food poisoning:
Usually no antibiotics are prescribed for common types of food poisoning but the patient may require medicines that help slow down the diarrhea. However children should never be medicated, even if bloody diarrhea or fever persists.

If the person is not able to withstand any fluids through the oral route, fluids may have to be given through intravenous. Patients on diuretics should immediately check with their doctor while managing diarrhea. Medications should not be discontinued or changed without the instructions from the doctor. However sometimes medical attention is required immediately to flush the stomachs contents and remove the toxin.

Medical attention is required if:

  • Diarrhea lasts beyond 2 days
  • There is blood in your stools
  • Unable to take in fluids due to vomiting/nausea
  • There is high temperature
  • There are signs of dehydration like thirst, dizziness, light headedness

Rush to the emergency if a person’s:

  • Stools are black or dark red in color due to excessive bleeding
  • Heart is pounding, racing or skipping a beat

What can the public do to reduce their risks?
Points to be kept in mind to avoid food poisoning

  • Wash your hand thoroughly before cooking and cleaning food
  • Clean you hands thoroughly after handling raw meat and meat products
  • Utensils containing raw meat should always be cleaned immediately after emptying
  • Meats should be thoroughly cooked to kill all bacteria
  • Cooked meat should be always stored in a fresh and clean utensil. Never use the container that had uncooked meat to store cooked meat.
  • Excess food should always be frozen aseptically and promptly.
  • Uncooked meat, poultry, fish etc that are in the refrigerator for more than 2 days should be discarded
  • Cans with dents or bulges, packaged food with broken seal and outdated foods should be disposed of immediately.
  • Do not consume foods that are stale or with bad odour.
  • Untreated water should not be used for drinking or cooking

Taking small precautions can go a long way to prevent food poisoning and its consequences.

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy & Kanika Jain




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User Comments

27 September, 2010 | Shakira | Reply

Shakira Hey Everybody did you know that the most contaminated or the day to day articles that harbour maximum germs are
1.The kitchen dish rag.
2.A persons mobile.
3.The key board of the computer to name a few.
The first you can throw or disinfect what about the last two?

22 September, 2010 | ramesh | Reply

ramesh Good to note that few examples shared about hygine helps lot of people whose taste buds are quite active. There was news paper info a fortnight ago in Bangalore that few lab doctors and Technicians fell ill with omitting etc.. due to their eating Panipuries just outside the lab daily. They could find in their microbiological tests that Footpath pani puri's, with Pani and hot boiled channa contain all those bacterias which are normally found in human stool and urine due to airy dust particules having countless dry but live bacterias sitting on such food/liquid stuffs in footpath shops just due to few vehicles movement closely.

27 September, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy While eating out, we have to make sure that the food that we are eating is prepared and served in a very hygienic place, the plates and silverware are washed and heat dried and also the personnel working in the kitchen and service are following a very good personal hygiene factors. These minimizes the contamination of food to a large extent i.e contamination from external sources.

21 September, 2010 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar 2 common food poisoning contaminants that have found there way in many food canteens are cockroaches (roaches) and lizards. Newspapers have carried many incidents where they find dead lizards or roaches in the food, when masses complained of nausea & vomiting or severe bouts of abdominal pain and diarrhea. Sad our food handlers are so irresponsible. They should be behind bars not just penalised or licence with drawn.

20 September, 2010 | Mridula | Reply

Mridula A month ago several of us friends ate at a Pizza place and the next monrning 3 of my friends came down with severe cramping, vomiting and loose motions that lasted 2 days.
I, my husband and another friend did not have any problem.
We all ate the same food. We had ordered 3 different pies and some garlic bread.
How is that possible? Can some people have ability to fight off bacteria infections.
Could it have been salmonella or something?

This was a decent Pizza restaurant.

21 September, 2010 | Vijayalakshmi | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Dear Mridula as Sangeetha said it depends on each one `s immune system. As you were many of you, you must have ordered a number of pies/garlic bread collectively. It could be that the pie/bread the 3 of them ate in particular, was contaminated,was very stale or their food handler was unhygienic.

21 September, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Mridula,

You are right, some individual's immune system can be stronger than the other people. It could also be that either their pizza or pie was not well cooked or the person who handled their food did not follow good hygiene. Last but not the least, it could be water, probably they consumed water that was contaminated. The culprit could be anything, milk and diary product, undercooked meat and chicken, water, food handler, unhygienic plates and silverware etc etc.

Thanks for the query.

21 September, 2010 | Mridula | Reply

Mridula Well, we had shared the same food.
I felt awful, as my friends were quite unwell those two days.
I guess my system is built stronger - which is a good thing.
We haven't gone back to that restaurant again.

20 September, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain Though recent massive egg recall in the US has put both eggs as well as salmonella into limelight but there are many other microbes out there, invading different kind of foods (and water too) which can possibly make us victims of food poisoning. Prevention is always better than cure. Simple steps like safe food- handling, cooking and serving and drinking clean water can prevent many cases food borne illness.

20 September, 2010 | Vaishnavi Mishra | Reply

Vaishnavi Mishra Follow a simple mantra to avoid food poisoning - WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT. If you find anything wrong with the food just throw it. I am sure it can prevent lot of cases of food poisoning. Also, make it a habit to wash hands thoroughly before cooking as well as eating food.

21 September, 2010 | Vijayalakshmi | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Dear Vaishnavi a very apt suggestion, but most often these episodes happen because either somebody overlooks or disregards a problem deliberately as it could lead to a lot of loss or got careless.At the home front or where people are more concerned about health than profits, yes, what you say is absolutely correct,take no chances.

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