Foodborne Illnesses: What You Need To Know
It's no laughing matter when you are hunching over your bathroom toilet, feeling like you are puking up your insides. However, this is just the way of your body cleansing itself—purging itself from unwanted intruders. One common reason for this necessary action is food poisoning. According to the Food and Drug Administration, roughly 48 million individuals—or one in six people in America—get some form of a foodborne illness annually. There are many explanations for this, so read on to learn more about why you may have food poisoning and how to tell.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
As a general rule, the exact symptoms of food poisoning will vary depending on the poisoning that you are dealing with, such as listeria or salmonella. However, once you consume contaminated food, you can expect one or more of the following symptoms to appear within a few hours or days.
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Signs of Dehydration (Dry mouth, thirst, and/or lightheadedness)
Common Causes of Food Poisoning
So, how do you know that food poisoning is the reason you are hunched over your toilet bowl at two in the morning? The symptoms alone won't be able to tell you, but if you know that you weren't out partying and you can think back on what you have eaten recently, you may be able to determine the culprit. Here are a few reasons why food can result in your sickness.
It Wasn't the Right Temperature
There are many foods that are known to be carriers of foodborne illnesses, such as grilled chicken, deviled eggs, and pasta salad. It is important that foods that are supposed to be kept cold are kept cold and foods that need to be kept hot remain hot. Perishable foods should only remain out of the fridge for a couple of hours. Any time that you are in doubt, don't eat it. It is better to be safe than sorry.
You Are Using One Plate for Raw and Cooked Meat
When you handle meat, it is important that you use one plate for preparing the raw meat for cooking and then a separate plate for post-cooking. Otherwise, you are opening yourself up to E-coli. You also don't want to cross-contaminate between meats and vegetables, so make sure you are using different cutting boards or you are cleaning them thoroughly in between uses.
Your Leftovers Were Still a Little Cold After Being Reheating
There is nothing wrong with being one of those parents that enjoy using leftovers. After all, everyone needs to save money here and there, and there is no reason to let food go to waste. However, just because the food was previously and thoroughly cooked and properly refrigerated, it does not mean that it cannot make you sick if you don't heat it up properly. It is possible for the food to contract bacteria in the fridge, and heating up the food thoroughly will kill that potential bacteria.
If you believe that you may be sick with food poisoning, you can usually battle it out at home by drinking a lot of fluid, eating bland foods, and resting. However, if you are finding it difficult to keep any fluids down, running a high fever, or experiencing strange symptoms, contact your family physician immediately.