Food poisoning which is also known as foodborne illness happens when we consume contaminated, toxic or spoiled food and beverages. The basic symptoms which patients experience are vomiting, diarrhea and nausea but vary depending on the food poisoning categories.
Even though the name itself makes it seem like a very serious illness, not all food poisoning cases are extreme and happen very frequently and are not severe at all. According to the statistics provided by Centers for Disease Control, one in every six American will be infected by food poisoning every day.
From the time the vegetables are grown to the time it is consumed, it can get infected at any point. The bacteria can also infect the food from the time it was growing due to dirty water being used for the produce or contaminated water being given to the animals. The area of food preparation must also be clean as a bacterium is often spread because of the utensils involved in the cooling process.
Food Poisoning Categories
Different bacteria cause different food poisoning categories:
Campylobacter: This is commonly known as the barbecue bug as it is usually transmitted through undercooked poultry, shellfish and burgers.
Salmonella: This is usually passed through raw eggs, meat and poultry. Patients feel the basic symptoms which are fever, vomiting and stomach pains. The symptoms usually last for a day up to 4 days.
E coli: Transmitted through unpasteurized milk, apple juice, raw or undercooked meats and raw vegetables. Basic symptoms include diarrhea and stomach pains. Symptoms last for 12 hours to 3 days depending on the severity.
Listeria: Transmitted through cheeses, poultry, meat and salads. The symptoms can vary from the typical flu ones to meningitis. This is very dangerous for mothers who are expecting as it can lead to a miscarriage. The symptoms last for 3-70 days however it solely depends on the severity.
Viral food poisoning this originates because of uncooked food or when they are not kept in proper hygienic conditions. The basic symptoms are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and it lasts for approximately 12-48 hours.
Food Poisoning Categories – Causes
To determine the severity of the food poisoning it is essential to know what causes the food poisoning. They are traced back to these three causes:
Bacteria: being one of the most common causes of food poisoning we at times associate them with dangerous bacteria like E.coli, salmonella and listeria. According to the CDC, salmonella is the biggest reason for food poisoning and approximately 1,000,000 cases are reported out of which 20,000 need to be hospitalized.
Parasites: being the second most common reason of food poisoning, although not as common as bacteria but can be very dangerous. One of the most notable parasites that cause food poisoning is Toxoplasma, which is found in cat litter boxes. Parasites tend to live in the digestive track and can go undetected at times.
Viruses: apart from the two reasons, food poisoning can also be caused by a virus. A very common virus called Norovirus affects over 19 million people each year and can at times be fatal.