Food is a necessity in everyday life, and with that comes possible complications. Food poisoning is a common, but stressful and possibly life-threatening issue for millions of people across the U.S. and throughout the world. People infected with food-borne organisms could show no signs or symptoms or may have symptoms ranging from mild intestinal discomfort to severe dehydration and bloody diarrhea. In extreme cases, people can die from food poisoning. There are over 250 different diseases that can cause food poisoning, all of which stem from eating contaminated food.
Symtoms usually start within an hour or two of eating contaminated foods. Nausea, vomitting, abdominal pain, cramps, and diarrhea are the most common signs of an individual coming down with food poisoning. In most cases there is no treatment necessary as it revolves on its own. However, in rare circumstances a hospital visit is needed. Sickness can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, “Contamination of food can happen at any point during its production: growing, harvesting, processing, storing, shipping or preparing. Cross-contamination — the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another — is often the cause. This is especially troublesome for raw, ready-to-eat foods, such as salads or other produce. Because these foods aren’t cooked, harmful organisms aren’t destroyed before eating and can cause food poisoning.”
There are many underlying factors that determine whether or not you become ill after eating contaminated foods. The organism itself, your age, the amount of exposure you had to the food, and your overall state of health all contribute to how sick you can really become from food poisoning. High risk people include; older adults, pregnant woman, infants and young children, and people with chronic illnesses.
The most common and serious complication from food poisoning is dehydration. In saying that, as long as you’re a healthy adult and drink a lot of fluids that are lost from vomitting and diarhea then there shouldn’t be any complications. People most at risk for dehydration are older adults and those with chronic diseases. Like anything else, in extreme cases this could lead to fatality. To prevent the likelihood of food poisoning from occuring it is essential to wash your hands, utensils, and food surfaces on a consistent basis. Also make sure that ready to eat foods are completely separated from raw foods such as fish and meat. Cook foods properly at the right temperatures, as undercooking increases the chances of food poisoning. Perishable foods must be refridgerated or freezed in a timely fashion which is within a two hour window. Defrost food in a refridgerator instead of thawing at room temperature. If you have any doubts at all about the food being spoiled then throw it out immediately. Its better to be safe then sorry!