Food Poisoning – What you Need to Know

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is a disease caused by eating or drinking fluids contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or toxins. Viruses are the most frequent cause of food poisoning, followed by bacteria with about 31 viral and bacterial pathogens responsible for most food poisoning cases each year. The most common pathogens are Norovirus, Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli.

Symptoms and Treatment 

The time it takes for symptoms to develop after eating contaminated food ranges from one hour to 90 days, usually developing after one to three days. The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea, with other symptoms such as fever and abdominal cramps not uncommon.

Depending on the cause of the food poisoning, the duration usually ranges from a few hours to several days after exposure.  For individuals with mild to moderate symptoms, symptoms should resolve themselves without the need for specific medical treatment within 24 to 48 hours. If you experience more extreme symptoms that last longer than 72 hours, it is recommended to visit your local pharmacist or doctor.

Treatment for food poisoning also depends on the cause. As mentioned, most people will self-cure over a few days but some causes will benefit from antibiotic or antiparasite treatments. At home remedies to help overcome the symptoms and prevent further irritation include avoiding alcohol, nicotine and spicy foods, in addition to drinking plenty of fluids and electrolyte solutions to rehydrate. It is also recommended to eat easily digested food such as toast until you begin to feel better.