Eating food contaminated with bacteria, germs, toxins, or pathogens often leads to food poisoning. The contamination can occur due to the improper cooking or handling of food at home or in a restaurant.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
Symptoms of food poisoning may start appearing hours after consumption of food. Since the symptoms of this condition are very similar to other gastrointestinal issues, it can make differentiating between stomach flu vs food poisoning very tricky.
Fortunately, most food poisoning does not require treatment and will resolve itself on its own. However, there are cases when the symptoms are so severe that medical treatment is necessary.
The symptoms of food poisoning will depend on the source of the contamination. The most common symptoms include:
- Watery or even bloody diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and cramps
If you are experiencing bloody diarrhea and cannot keep fluids down, have extreme abdominal pain, and your temperature is 38 C (100.4 F) or higher, seek medical attention. The vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration.
Causes of food poisoning
Food poisoning is a common result of eating uncooked, contaminated food or cross-contamination during the cooking process. Cross-contamination refers to the transfer of contaminants from one surface to another, or from raw food to cooked food.
Common contaminants that lead to food poisoning include Campylobacter, Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella, and Giardia lamblia.
Older adults, pregnant women, infants, young children, and people with compromised immune systems are at risk of developing severe food poisoning.