Signs and Symptoms of Food Poisoning
Posted by Tia Patel | Dec-17-2020
With an estimated one million cases a year, food poisoning doesn’t stop over the festive season. Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating contaminated food. Signs and symptoms may start within hours after eating the contaminated food, or they may begin days or even weeks later. Sickness caused by food poisoning generally lasts from a few hours to several days.
Check out the top 10 signs and symptoms of food poisoning, 5 top tips to avoid festive food poisoning this Christmas and natural remedies for treating food poisoning.
Signs and Symptoms of Food Poisoning
- Abdominal pain and cramps can occur when the lining of your stomach and intestines becomes inflamed. You may also experience cramps as your body tries to get rid of the harmful organisms as quickly as possible.
- Diarrhea consists of three or more loose, watery stools in 24 hours. The biggest health risk of diarrhea is dehydration, so it’s important to make sure you are drinking enough fluids.
- Headaches are a common symptom of food poisoning especially if you become dehydrated.
- Vomiting is a protective mechanism that helps your body rid itself of harmful organisms you have eaten.
- Feeling ill is a result of cytokines, chemical messengers, regulating your immune response. Their presence also causes some of the typical symptoms of illness, such as loss of appetite.
- Fever is a common symptom of illness caused by harmful organisms. It helps fight infection by making your body too hot for the bacteria or virus that caused the infection to thrive.
- Chills often accompany a fever, which can occur in cases of food poisoning. Thinking it’s too cold, your body shivers in an attempt to warm up.
- Weakness and fatigue are common side effects of food poisoning. They are caused by chemical messengers called cytokines, which are released by your body when you are sick.
- Nausea is the debilitating feeling of being queasy before you are sick. It serves as a warning signal of food poisoning.
- Your body may ache when you have an infection like food poisoning. This aching occurs due to inflammation in your body as your immune system responds to the threat.
How to prevent festive food poisoning this Christmas
Cross contamination is one of the main causes of food poisoning this holiday season
Nasty bacteria such as Campylobacter found in raw poultry, Escherichia coli in raw beef and Salmonella in raw pork and poultry could put a swift end to festivities if not controlled properly and contact is made with cooked or ready-to-eat foods and fresh produce.
Cook food at a lower temperature and for a longer time period
Forgot to turn the oven on or not left enough time to cook your turkey? It is tempting to turn the oven up to maximum temperature to get your meat cooked in time. However, this could prove both embarrassing and dangerous when cutting into the turkey only to find the inside raw. Preparation is key to the perfect meal and avoiding food poisoning. Give yourself enough time and thoroughly check your food, especially meat, is cooked through before serving. Whilst it may look cooked on the outside, the inside may still be raw. We recommend using a meat thermometer and checking the juices of the turkey are running clear (by testing in the thickest parts of the bird) to help avoid this.
Put leftovers in the fridge. Once Christmas dinner is finished, it is tempting to put your feet up in front of the television, have a nap, play a game or enjoy a Christmas movie. However, once leftover food has cooled it is important to put the leftovers in the fridge as naturally occurring bacteria in the atmosphere can cause contamination. Eating leftovers that have been left at room temperature for a long time has been implicated in a number of cases of food poisoning.
Observe use-by dates. There’s always that one guest who has requested the only item you forgot from your shopping list? It is easy to reach into the back of the cupboard and pull out an old tin of squirty cream or that Camembert or smoked salmon in the fridge from last weekend. However, this could be disastrous for your guests.
Out-of-date soft cheeses and meats can harbour organisms and bacteria which can cause illness. Whilst there a lot of confusing messages about sell-by and use-by dates, generally the rule is use-by dates relate to risk of illness, and so should be observed, best-before dates mean only that the food may not taste as good, but they should not make you ill. However, its best to stick to any dates on packaging when it comes to raw meat, fish, eggs or dairy products.
Be careful of pre-cut and pre-washed vegetables. Pre-washed or pre-cut vegetables from supermarkets can save valuable time in cooking the main meal of the day, but it is important to remember that the more food is handled and processed the more likely it is to attract bacteria. It is important to thoroughly re-wash all vegetables and salads that will be eaten raw.
Best treatment for food poisoning
Check out our list of natural remedies that can help your upset stomach:
Ginger - For a long time, people have turned to ginger as a cure-all for everything from pain to nausea. It’s not just an old wives’ tale...studies have shown that ginger can be a very effective treatment for stomach upset as it is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Hot Gel Pack - You might find a hot gel pack soothing when you’re feeling sick, so cuddle up under a blanket and take it easy until your symptoms pass. The warmth on your stomach will distract you from any cramping or pain, and the heat can help to relax your muscles and reduce your nausea. Don’t leave it on too long, however, as you can damage your skin from overuse. Try out our reusable gel pack that is designed to fit around most body parts. https://bit.ly/tummypaingelpack.
Chamomile Tea - A nice cup of chamomile tea can help ease the pain of an upset stomach by acting as an anti-inflammatory. It helps your stomach muscles to relax, which can reduce the pain of cramping and spasms.
When to see a doctor. Stomach problems sometimes do indicate a more serious problem. Go see a doctor if you are having trouble keeping water down for longer than six hours. You should also call your doctor if you experience nausea or stomach pain and discomfort for more than 48 hours.
In the flurry of preparing the Christmas meal, it’s important to plan ahead and allow plenty of time. Remember that an average-sized turkey can take 4 days to fully thaw in the fridge. It is vital to thoroughly cook your turkey so that the meat is steaming hot, there is no pink meat visible, and that the meat juices run clear. This way you will avoid any upset tummies!