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What are the Different Food Poisoning Causes?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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There are so many different food poisoning causes that medical science hasn't identified all of them. Most cases of food borne illness are caused from bacteria or viruses, however. Bacteria thrive in non-living substances, while viruses require a living host in order to exist. Viral and bacterial food poisoning causes have many different methods of contamination.

Bacteria can remain on the surface of fruits and vegetables. If produce isn't properly washed or processed, the bacteria can be ingested and cause food poisoning. Canned fruits and vegetables can be one of the most serious food poisoning causes if the produce is improperly processed. Clostridium botulinum is a bacterium that produces a toxin that can cause severe illness and death. Bulging cans or lids are signs that produce was improperly canned; eating these foods can result in death from botulism poisoning.

Most food poisoning causes don't produce such serious effects. Flu-like symptoms and intestinal problems that go away in one or two days are more common. Food poisoning symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for the flu. Stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting are common signs.

Viral cases of food poisoning are commonly caused by feces contamination. If cooks and those who prepare foods don't wash their hands properly after using the bathroom, contamination and food poisoning can result. This type of food poisoning can affect entire institutions, such as child day cares and schools. Fecal matter in shellfish is another viral food poisoning cause.

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Foods that are not fully cooked can also cause food-borne illnesses. All foods should be cooked to their proper temperature to avoid causing food poisoning. Leaving cooked food unrefrigerated for more than two hours is another food poisoning cause that can be easily avoided. The basic rule of thumb in food safety is that hot foods should stay hot and cold foods should stay cold.

Properly preparing raw meat for cooking is especially important in avoiding food poisoning. Raw meats can contain bacteria that causes food poisoning. If the uncooked meat is cut on a cutting board before other foods such as vegetables are also prepared there, the bacteria can easily contaminate the vegetables. Separate cutting boards and knives should be used for the different food items in order to avoid bacterial contamination.

Proper cooking temperatures can kill bacteria and viruses that could otherwise cause food poisoning. For example, pork may contain the viral round worm Trichinella spiralis, which causes the food-borne illness trichinosis. If pork is properly cooked through, the chances of contracting trichinosis are very rare.

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anon343390
Post 4

@nextcorrea: There are a few things you can do. These can help people who have a stomach virus, as well.

Make sure you have plenty of liquids, but don't drink them normally. Just sip them, over the course of the day(s) while you're sick, because having too much to drink at once may make problems worse.

Drinks like Gatorade and Powerade can be good. They help keep electrolytes up, which is hard to do with food poisoning symptoms.

When you can eat small items without getting sick, use the B.R.A.T diet for a day or two. B.R.A.T. stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Tea. Small amounts of any of those should be fine. If

you need to, though, substitute plain bread or crackers for either the fruit or the rice. If you're not on a sodium restricted diet, add a pinch of salt to the tea to keep electrolytes up.

If you take medications, call your doctor's office to find out what you should do, if you can't keep anything on your stomach.

And while you're at it, ask your doctor if there is anything you can take over the counter to help the symptoms, without ridding yourself of them.

Remember, your symptoms are the body's way of trying to expel what is making you sick. It's not good to take something that will stop those processes from happening. But, taking something to help you not be so miserable while they're happening is fine, if you're doctor agrees to it.

ZsaZsa56
Post 3

We normally think of food poisoning coming from bad meat or dirty kitchens, but it seems like a lot of the big stories lately involving food sickness have to do with fruits and vegetables.

Its weird to hear about these stories. You never think of getting sick from eating spinach, it kind of sounds like getting a headache from eating Advil, but as we have seen it is very possible.

Industrial farming has many benefits but one of the biggest drawbacks is that bacteria is spread easily and to many different places. There is really no easy way to avoid exposure.

nextcorrea
Post 2

I had food poisoning for the first time ever just a few weeks ago. It was terrible. I will not go into my symptoms but lets just say that they were severe.

I have done a lot of research about the main causes of food poisoning but I still cannot figure out where I got it from. I know that no matter what you do there is almost no way of safeguarding yourself completely.

So I am wondering if someone knows of a good food poisoning treatment that I can try next time? I know that there are no food poisoning cures, but If I can make the symptoms a little lighter that would help a lot.

whiteplane
Post 1

I have had food poisoning more times than I can count. It is a real pain in the neck and now I try and be proactive to avoid common sources of food born bacteria.

I have noticed that I have the most trouble with fish. And the weird thing is that I seem to be more sensitive to it than other people. There have been instances when I have eaten the same piece of fish that other people have and I am the only one who gets sick. Now I just avoid fish all together.

I am also careful to wash all of my fruits and vegetables in a special rinse before I cook with them. I know

that this is not a 100% certain way of getting rid of harmful bacteria, but I think it helps.

I put all of this into action about a year ago and I have been food poison free ever since. Cross your fingers that it keeps up.

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