Surprising facts about food poisoning and tips to stay safe

1. Food poisoning facts

Food poisoning facts

Have you also often wondered what caused that terrible stomach infection which left you vomiting and rushing to the loo innumerable times? And you failed to understand why the homemade soup that you had last night led to such terrible bouts of nausea? Do you know that food poisoning is not often caused by the food that you eat just before you start showing the signs of it? Here are some facts about food poisoning that you must know and the tips that will help you handle it well.

2. It can be caused by multiple pathogens

The four types of germs that lead to most food born diseases are norovirus, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Campylobacter. They act differently on the body and are treated in different ways. While viral infections are self-limiting, the bacterial ones need an antibiotic course.

3. Your hands are to be blamed too

It is not always the food that you eat leads to infection. If you consumed food with unwashed hands, the germs on your hand get transferred to food and then to your stomach.

4. The signs are not immediate

The incubation time for each pathogen is different. Salmonella takes anywhere between six hours to two days, C. perfringens takes a minimum of eight hours, the norovirus requires half a day to incubate and Campylobacter takes more than two days to make its impact. This proves that your diarrhoea can be the result of food that you had several days ago.

5. When to see a doctor

If the lose motions are incessant and uncontrollable or if you feel there is a lot of fluid loss, you must go to the doctor immediately. If you have temperature above 101 degree F or if you are not able to retain food and liquids, you must see a doctor.

6. Fever is a part of the game

Don’t panic if you have fever. It is a part of the process and unless it is very high and persistent, it usually resolves on its own.

7. What to eat

Traditionally several home remedies are said to help against loose motions. Having banana and psyllium husk is said to control it. You can also soak some washed rice in water and drink this water throughout the day to get rid of lose motions. If you start recovering and have the appetite, have moong daal khichdi/ overcooked rice which becomes soft and mushy with curd and black salt. You can also have weak tea and Marie biscuits.

8. What to drink

If you don’t feel like eating, don’t eat. Don’t force your child to eat if he does not want to. The gut needs time to deal with the infection and forcing down food only aggravates the problem. Drink plenty of fluids like plain water, ORS, coconut water, nimbu sherbet and chaach.

9. What to avoid

Of course, you must avoid greasy and spicy food and even basic stuff like roti, paratha, chana dal, chole, gatte etc. Stay away from outside food and anything that is not clean and healthy. Avoid eggs, meats and seafood.

10. Hygiene tips

While we all know that we must wash our hands with soap and water before having food, it is also important to wash hands thoroughly after using the washroom. Keep food covered and eat only from trusted joints if you must eat food from outside.