Definition: What Is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning is a common digestive infection. It follows the ingestion of food or substances contaminated by pathogens such as viruses, bacteria or parasites.
Symptoms Of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is manifested by digestive problems occurring most often 24 hours after the ingestion of the food responsible. These include abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. The affected person may also experience fever and severe fatigue. The duration of symptoms is usually one day but may last up to a week.
Causes Of Food Poisoning
There are many pathogens that can cause food poisoning. The bacterial infection is the most common. Among the most commonly transmitted bacteria in contaminated foods are Salmonella, Straphylococcus, Escherichia coli, or Campylobacter jejuni.
Some viruses can also be responsible for food poisoning. This is the case of novoviruses or hepatitis A virus and hepatitis E virus that spread through contaminated water.
Parasites (Giardia lamblia in particular), fungi, prions or toxins are all possible causes of food poisoning.
Treatment: What To Do In Case Of Food Poisoning
Most of the time, food poisoning can be cured on its own without treatment after a few days. However, medication management can help limit unpleasant effects such as diarrhoea and vomiting. Antidiarrhoeal, antispasmodic or antibiotic medications may be prescribed in case of intense bacterial infection. It is also advisable to drink water and salt solutions to rehydrate and to avoid solid foods. In some more serious cases, hospitalization may be necessary. This is particularly the case when the infection affects frail people such as the elderly or those with a deficiency of the immune system.