Food poisoning can occur when you eat contaminated food. Infectious organisms like bacteria, viruses or parasites are usually the culprits behind food poisoning. You may not experience the symptoms of food poisoning immediately after eating contaminated food. Major symptoms of food poisoning like nausea, vomiting, tummy pain, diarrhea, high temperature, loss of appetite, chills and aching muscles often begin few days or several weeks after eating infected food.
While you may be less vulnerable to food poisoning if you are very hygienic, being hygiene-conscious doesn’t exempt you from contacting this illness. Why? The packaged food you buy may already be contaminated during the period of processing or production. So even when you are mindful about how you prepare your food and what goes into your mouth, these infectious organisms may find their way into your system through other means. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make any effort to reduce the risks of food poisoning. In fact, it is highly important that you do.
How To Avoid Food Poisoning
There are many ways to prevent food poisoning, some of which include:
Always ensure that your hands, dishcloths, and worktops are clean. Use soap and water to thoroughly wash your hands whenever they come in contact with raw food, animals, the waste bin and your toilet. Germs easily breed on dirty or damp clothes, regularly wash your cleaning towels and let them dry before reusing them. Your worktops where you slice your raw meat or vegetables should always be clean: wash them before and after you use them with soapy water.
2. Be Extra Careful With Raw Meat
Raw meats like chicken, turkey, beef and so on are often carriers of bacteria. When shopping for foodstuff, always remember to not put your raw meat in the same bag where your ready-to-eat foods are. You don’t cook foods like bread and fruit before eating them and any bacteria that drip on these foods won’t be killed. Also, the chopping board you use in preparing your raw food shouldn’t be the same one you use for your ready-to-eat foods.
If you will be storing your raw meat in the fridge, always keep them at the bottom shelf so they don’t drip on other foods. Before eating raw meat, make sure they are thoroughly cooked with no traces of pink meat in them.
3. Refrigerate Leftovers Or Perishable Foods Quickly
If you have perishable foods or cooked foods you plan on eating later, store it immediately in your fridge or freezer—should not exceed 90 minutes at least. And it’s best not to eat any leftover that’s been in your fridge for more than two days.
4. Set Your Fridge Below 5 Degree Celcius
When your fridge is below 5C, it will be more difficult for harmful germs to grow and spread. You can check the temperature of your fridge with a fridge thermometer.
5. Respect Expiry Dates
The expiry dates on your packaged foods are there for a reason, don’t neglect them. That the food still looks and smells nice even though it is past its ‘use-by’ date doesn’t mean it is free of harmful bugs.
How To Deal With Food Poisoning When It Occurs
In most cases, the symptoms of food poisoning will cease on its own without any medication. However, if you experience severe symptoms that include very high temperature, blood in stools, incessant vomiting, dehydration(dry mouth and throat, decrease in urination) and diarrhea that goes on for more than three days, see a doctor. When that’s not the case, you will want to reduce the discomforting symptoms of food poisoning by doing the following:
- Drink plenty of fluids: though diarrhea and vomiting may make it hard for you to keep anything down, you still have to stay dehydrated. Start with small sips or ice chips if possible.
- Avoid dairy, fizzy drinks, alcohol or fatty and spicy foods as they will only worsen your situation.
- Replace the minerals you lost as a result of vomiting and diarrhea, with water or an electrolyte solution.
- Eating food may unsettle your stomach at the early stage, so avoid food for a while.
- When you feel like eating, start with little amounts of bland or nonfatty foods like rice, crackers, and toast.
- Get more than enough rest.
Trying to stop your diarrhea with over-the-counter medications may do more harm than good; allow nature to run its course. The diarrhea is actually helping you get rid of whatever it is that’s making you sick.