Have you ever had a meal that left you feeling sick, dizzy, and running to the bathroom? If yes, you might have experienced the not-so-pleasant effects of food poisoning. This sneaky and unwelcome guest can ruin your day, week, or even month, depending on the severity of the infection. Whether it's from a street vendor's food, a fancy restaurant's gourmet dish, or a home-cooked meal, food poisoning can strike anywhere and anytime. To know how you can identify it and how long it may last, we reached out to Dr Hari Kishan Boorugu, Consultant Physician and Diabetologist, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad.
What is Food Poisoning?
"Food poisoning is caused by eating food that contains germs, such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites," Dr Boorugu said. Citing examples, he added, "Some of the bacteria that can cause food poisoning are salmonella and E. Coli."
How Do Germs Spread?
According to Dr Boorugu, the germs may get into food in different ways. Here are some of those:
- People who are sick can spread germs to the food while cooking if they do not wash their hands before touching it.
- Germs can live in or on the food and, if the food items are not washed or cooked enough, the germs can infect people.
Dr Boorugu added that typhoid fever is also a foodborne infection, which can be prevented to some extent by taking the typhoid vaccine.
Also Read: Can Leftover Rice Cause Food Poisoning? Expert Weighs In
How To Know If You Have Food Poisoning?
You can identify food poisoning by observing the symptoms you experience after consuming something. According to Dr Boorugu, some common symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain or cramps, sometimes fever and bloody diarrhoea. He added that the timing between food intake and the onset of these symptoms gives us a clue towards the possibility of food poisoning.
What To Do In Incase Of Food Poisoning?
"If someone develops symptoms of food poisoning, they need to ensure adequate hydration by taking plenty of water, buttermilk with salt or oral rehydration solutions (ORS), " the doctor said. If you have excess vomiting besides diarrhoea, you may need intravenous fluids and hospitalisation.
"If you have food poisoning with a high-grade fever not settling with basic medication, bloody diarrhoea, or large-volume diarrhoea with vomiting, you should consult your doctor on an urgent basis," he added.
How Long Does Food Poisoning Last?
The symptoms of food poisoning usually last up to two days. But occasionally, they can last up to a week too. The doctor added, "The severity depends on the type of food poisoning and the person’s immunity system."
Also Read: Stomach Bug Vs Food Poisoning: Know Difference Between Causes, Symptoms Of These Two Conditions
Expert-Recommended Ways To Prevent Food Poisoning
Here are some simple ways to prevent food poisoning:
- Avoid eating outside or street foods
- Avoid eating uncooked, frozen or unprocessed food items
- Wash your hands thoroughly before you cook or eat your food
Food poisoning is caused by consuming contaminated food and can result in symptoms, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain or cramps, fever, and bloody diarrhoea. It's important to observe the timing between food intake and the onset of symptoms to identify if you have food poisoning. If symptoms are severe, it's best to consult a doctor.
[Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided by a registered medical practitioner. However, we recommend you consult your healthcare provider for accurate diagnosis and treatment.]