What are the Causes of Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning is caused by eating food contaminated with infectious organisms – these include parasites, viruses, and bacteria.
Food ingredients can be contaminated during production and food handling. Improper food preparation can also contribute to food contamination. This can happen with undercooked food or through using utensils, knives, or chopping boards for both meat and vegetables. Furthermore, you also run a risk of contamination when food is incorrectly stored in the refrigerator.
Signs and Symptoms: When Do You Need Food Poisoning First Aid?
Symptoms of food poisoning may develop within 5 to 72 hours after infection. Although signs and symptoms may vary depending on the source of contamination, the most common symptoms of food poisoning are the following:
- Stomach pain and cramps
- Fever or temperature of 37.8C and above
- Watery or bloody diarrhea
Anyone suffering from these symptoms is at risk of dehydration.
Food Poisoning First Aid
Some symptoms of food poisoning are manageable at home. Here are some steps to take in food poisoning first aid:
- As nausea and stomach cramps worsen, advise the patient to rest, lie down, and let their stomach settle.
- If the patient is vomiting, it is important to encourage them to take small sips of water to prevent dehydration.
- If the patient also suffers from diarrhea, it is even more important to replace lost fluids and salts. Give them ORS (oral rehydration solution) to replenish lost fluids.
- If the vomiting eases and the patient feels hungry again, advise them to eat bland, light, and easily digested food. Try bananas, toast, or crackers. Steer clear from caffeine, alcohol, or fizzy drinks.
- Watch over and observe the patient in case the symptoms get worse.
Reminders: Do not immediately take medications without proper assessment of a doctor/ nurse. Some people would immediately take anti-diarrhea meds, but this may actually worsen the situation.