Food Poisoning: What It Is and What Causes It

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Depending on the severity of it, food poisoning can vary in how dangerous it is. Some food poisoning cases often result in having somebody lurched over the toilet, while others can often lead to a far more dangerous and deadly situation. One of the big problems that surrounds a potential food poisoning scare is that a lot of people are not entirely sure of what food poisoning really is, the signs of food poisoning, and often, they may not be able to tell the difference between having a flu or having food poisoning. If you want to learn more about food poisoning and the symptoms involved – and you really should – make sure to read in further.

What Is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is a sickness that typically comes as a result of eating tainted food. Food that can cause food poisoning often includes meats such as pork, shellfish, and other meats. Meats are not the only food that can induce food poisoning, of course – after all, it would be called meat poisoning if it was. Food poisoning is caused by consuming certain bacteria or chemicals that are not properly dealt with through proper preparation. Merriam-Webster Online’s dictionary defines food poisoning as such:
food poisoning
noun
: sickness caused by bacteria or chemicals in food.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Like with other diseases, one might expect to find some food poisoning symptoms here to figure out whether you actually have it or not. These are some of the signs that you may have food poisoning:
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Cramps
• Sweating
• Dizziness
• Tearing in the eyes
• Mental confusion
• Excess saliva
• Partial impairment in speech or vision

These symptoms generally vary, depending on how severe your food poisoning is, and the amount of time that it takes for the symptoms to wear off varies as well. If you experience several of these symptoms and fear that you might have experienced some form of food poisoning, you should get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and remember that you are experiencing diarrhea and vomiting because your body is trying to expel something bad from inside of it. If the symptoms seem to persist, it is advised that you contact a medical doctor immediately.

Food Poisoning vs Stomach Flu: How to Tell the Difference

A common problem people often face when dealing with both food poisoning and the stomach flu is, they have trouble figuring out which is which. They both have similar symptoms, yet both have their own causes, cures, and possible outcomes. In this section we will look into these areas in depth, and help explain how to tell the difference between a stomach flu and food poisoning.

Causes of Food Poisoning vs the Stomach Flu

Before you might have to worry about the symptoms or the treatments, the most important thing to consider is that you prevent both of these things from inflicting themselves upon you. The best way to avoid getting the stomach flu is to make sure that you get flu virus vaccinations annually. It may not be fun to have a needle injected into you, but it’s a lot less fun to be put out for a week by your stomach flu, which can keep you from earning at your job if your job does not offer sick days. The stomach flu can be caused by viruses such as noroviruses and rotaviruses.

On the other hand, the best way to avoid food poisoning is to improperly handle food stuffs, or have your food stuffs improperly handled. This can be done by allowing it to languish at room temperature, by improper storage, or simply by allowing unwanted bacteria to come into contact with it. When handling meat, one must be aware that meat has bacteria in it that needs to be “cooked out.” Eating raw meat is very dangerous with respect to food poisoning, and should generally be avoided like the plague.

A good way to avoid contracting a case of food poisoning is to keep yourself abreast of the current “health scares” in America. While a lot of health scares often end up being overblown – ironically H1N1 (a form of the stomach flu) was one such health scare that was blown out of proportion – the presence of salmonella or ecoli in foods is a pretty valid health concern to be aware of. Ecoli can often be found in foods such as vegetables and meat, and has been linked to very serious fatalities, most notably a case wherein the national restaurant chain Jack in the Box served tainted meat to their customers, and wound up with numerous dead children on their hands as a direct result. It is not a very good reason to lock yourself up in your home in fear of the potential of food poisoning, but a little bit of caution can do you some good for sure.

Differences in Symptoms of Food Poisoning and the Stomach Flu

The symptoms for food poisoning and the stomach flu are, in large part, the same. You will likely find yourself feeling achey, tired, or feverous, but certain symptoms are more common in one than the other, or simply unique to only one or the other. For example, nausea and diarrhea are far more typical and prominent with food poisoning, while the stomach flu comes with respiratory problems. When you have the stomach flu, it can cause respiratory problems that may seems extreme compared to a typical cough, nasal congestion, and more.

Differences in Cures and Treatments for Food Poisoning and the Stomach Flu

With both of these things, the proper treatment for them is to make sure that you keep yourself healthy. Drink plenty of fluids, do stuff to help your energy increase, and do not try to over-exert yourself. When you have a stomach flu, it is of the utmost importance that you try and keep it from spreading. Depending on the severity of the stomach flu, it can spread anywhere up to a few days after catching it, or even up to two weeks later. People who are dealing with the stomach flu are advised to try and keep themselves fed on a sliding upwards scale. Start off by avoiding foods, especially foods that will trigger vomiting, when you are first experiencing the typical symptoms of the stomach flu. Once you’ve had some time to recuperate from your sickness, it’s best if you try and focus on eating a little bit more, a little bit at a time, and eventually working your way up to a healthy daily intake of foods. You should generally avoid “triggering” foods like meats, especially fried chicken, or any foods that tend to make you feel queasy in general (for very obvious reasons).

For people who have been bedridden by an unfortunate strain of the stomach flu, the best way to deal with this problem is much of the same as you would with the stomach flu. Recovery from food poisoning sickness generally comes after two to five days of recovery, drinking plenty of fluids to make sure that you do not dehydrate, and avoiding triggering foods. If your symptoms do persist after five days, we recommend that you seek medical assistance, as your food poisoning could be quite dangerous.

On the other hand, when you are someone who is trying to take care of somebody with the stomach flu or food poisoning, you should always make sure that you treat them right and also make sure that you do not allow yourself to become sick in the process. Because of the contagious nature of your patient, if you don’t properly keep your hands washed after you interact with him or her, or if you don’t wear a protective mask to keep your nose and mouth unexposed, you may find that your efforts to keep him or her safe have actually put you into bed too. This can be both detrimental to your patient’s recovery, and might make a lot of things worse for you.

In Closing

Now that you have read up on what food poisoning is, the food poison symptoms, and how to tell whether or not what you have is food poisoning or flu, hopefully you will feel that you have been helped in avoiding it. While it is important to make sure that you keep yourself cautious and aware of potential stomach flu or food poisoning health scares, it is also important that you do not let it impact your happiness or your life. It’s not worth limiting yourself – just try and be cautious around certain foods! Be sure to not keep the information for yourself, though; foodborne illness can be a very serious problem, so make sure that your friends and family are as well-educated as you are on this important subject!

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