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Food Poisoning – Causes and Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is a condition in which the person experiences inflammation and severe pain in stomach and small intestine. The illness is due to consumption of contaminated food. Food poisoning can be categorized into two types. It can be due to:

  • Certain chemicals or toxic substances present in the food
  • Harmful parasites, viruses and bacteria present in food

Food poisoning is common in poor sanitation areas and unhygienic living conditions. The effects of food poisoning depend on certain factors such as the contaminant, degree of contamination, age and health of a person.

Causes of Food Poisoning

Following are causes for food poisoning:

  • Storage, handling and improper preparation of food. Food can be contaminated at any stage i.e production, growth, harvest, processing, storage or preparation.
  • Food kept at room temperatures for a long time and heated again causes micro-organism growth in it.
  • Animals can also be a cause for contaminating the food
  • Handling the food with unhygienic hands
  • Raw food materials may contain toxins and if they are not washed properly
  • Presence of same bacteria in water

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Symptoms of food poisoning mostly resemble intestinal flu and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms arise within hours after eating the contaminated food. The symptoms last for few minutes to several days. Following are the symptoms of food poisoning:

  • Weakness and numbness in mouth, legs and arms
  • Dizziness and fast heart beat
  • Fever that lasts for longer period
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody diarrhea and pus in the stools
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty in reasoning and confusion

If you suspect any of these symptoms, seek a medical professional help immediately. This can help you to identify the cause and prevent others from getting ill. Doctor diagnose the poisoning from a list of what you had recently and the results from the laboratory tests. Diagnostic tests include feces examination, sample testing of the suspected food. The suspected sample is tested for various bacteria, viruses, parasites and toxins as well.

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