Depending on its severity, food poisoning can vary in how dangerous it is. Some food poisoning often results in having somebody lurched over the toilet, while other food poisoning situations can often lead to a far more deadly and challenging situation.
One of the big problems that surround a potential food poisoning scare is that many people are not entirely sure of what food poisoning is, the signs of food poisoning. Often, they may not tell the difference between having the flu or having food poisoning. If you want to learn more about food poisoning and the symptoms involved – and you really should – make sure to read in further.
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What is food poisoning?
Food poisoning is a sickness that typically comes from eating tainted food. Food that can cause food poisoning often includes pork, shellfish, and other meats. Meats are not the only food that can induce food poisoning, of course – after all, it would be called meat poisoning if it was. Food poisoning is caused by consuming certain bacteria or chemicals not adequately dealt with through proper preparation. Merriam-Webster Online’s dictionary defines food poisoning as such.
What are the symptoms of food poisoning
Like with other diseases, one might expect to find some food poisoning symptoms here to figure out whether you have it or not. These are some of the signs that you may have food poisoning:
- Tearing in the eyes
- Mental confusion
- Excess saliva
- Partial impairment in speech or vision
These symptoms generally vary, depending on how severe your food poisoning is, and the amount of time that it takes for the signs to wear off varies as well. Experience several of these symptoms and fear that you might have experienced some form of food poisoning.
You should get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and remember that you are experiencing diarrhea and vomiting because your body is trying to expel something wrong from inside of it. If the symptoms seem to persist, it is advised that you contact a medical doctor immediately.
Food poisoning vs. stomach flu – how to tell the difference
A common problem people often face when dealing with food poisoning and the stomach flu is that they have trouble figuring out which is which. They have similar symptoms, yet both have their causes, cures, and possible outcomes. This section will look into these areas in-depth and help explain how to tell the difference between stomach flu and food poisoning.
Differences in causes of food poisoning and the stomach flu
Before you might have to worry about the symptoms or the treatments, the most important thing to consider is that you prevent both of these things from inflicting themselves upon you. The best way to avoid getting the stomach flu is to make sure that you and yours get flu virus vaccinations annually.
It may not be fun to have a needle injected into you, but it’s a lot less fun to be put out for a week by your stomach flu, which can keep you from earning at your job if you do not offer sick days. The stomach flu can be caused by viruses such as noroviruses and rotaviruses.
On the other hand, the best way to experience food poisoning is to mishandle foodstuffs or have your foodstuffs improperly handled. Who can do this by allowing it to languish at room temperature, by improper storage, or simply by allowing unwanted bacteria to come into contact with it? For example, when handling meat, one must be aware that beef has bacteria in it that need to be “cooked out.” Therefore, eating raw meat is very dangerous concerning food poisoning and should generally be avoided like the plague.
An excellent way to avoid contracting a case of food poisoning is to keep yourself abreast of the current “health scares” in America. While many health scares often end up being overblown – ironically, H1N1 (a form of the stomach flu) was one such health scare that was blown out of proportion – the presence of salmonella or ecoli in foods is a pretty valid health concern to be aware of.
Ecoli can often be found in foods such as vegetables and meat. It has been linked to severe fatalities, most notably a case wherein the national restaurant chain Jack in the Box served tainted beef to their customers and wound up with numerous dead children on their hands as a direct result. Of course, it is not a very good reason to lock yourself up in your home in fear of the potential of food poisoning, but a little bit of caution can do you some good for sure.
Differences in symptoms of food poisoning and the stomach flu
The symptoms of food poisoning and the stomach flu are, in large part, the same. You will likely find yourself feeling achy, tired, or feverous, but specific symptoms are more common in one than the other or simply unique to only one or the other.
For example, nausea and diarrhea are far more typical and prominent with food poisoning, while the stomach flu comes with respiratory problems. When you have the stomach flu, it can cause respiratory issues that may seem extreme compared to a typical cough, nasal congestion, and more.
Differences in cures and treatments for food poisoning and the stomach flu
With both of these things, the proper treatment for them is to make sure that you keep yourself healthy. Drink plenty of fluids, do stuff to help your energy increase, and do not try to over-exert yourself. When you have the stomach flu, it is of the utmost importance to keep it from spreading.
Depending on the severity of the stomach flu, it can apply anywhere up to a few days after catching it or even up to two weeks later. People dealing with the stomach flu are advised to try and keep themselves fed on a sliding upwards scale. Start by avoiding foods, especially foods that will trigger vomiting, when you are first experiencing the typical symptoms of the stomach flu.
Once you’ve had some time to recuperate from your sickness, it’s best if you try and focus on eating a little bit more, a little bit at a time, and eventually working your way up to a healthy daily intake of foods. You should generally avoid “triggering” foods like meats, especially fried chicken, or any foods that tend to make you feel queasy in general (for self-evident reasons).
For people who have been bedridden by an unfortunate strain of the stomach flu, the best way to deal with this problem is much of the same as you would with the stomach flu. Recovery from food poisoning sickness generally comes after two to five days of recovery, drinking plenty of fluids to ensure that you do not dehydrate, and avoiding triggering foods. However, if your symptoms do not persist after five days, I might recommend you seek medical assistance, as your food poisoning could be pretty dangerous.
On the other hand, when you are trying to take care of somebody with the stomach flu or food poisoning, you should always make sure that you treat them right and make sure that you do not allow yourself to become sick in the process.
Because of the contagious status of your patient, if you don’t correctly keep your hands washed after you interact with them, or if you don’t wear a protective mask to keep your nose and mouth unexposed, you may find that your efforts to keep them safe have put you into bed too. This can be detrimental to your patient’s recovery and might make many things worse for you.
Home Remedies for Food Poisoning
Reduce Food Poisoning Symptoms
- Get in bed and keep warm. Resting enhances recovery. Make sure you have easy access to a bedpan or bathroom.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Diarrhea and vomiting function to clear the toxins out of your system, but they can result in a substantial loss of body fluids. To prevent dehydration from developing, drink six to eight ounces of clear fluids per hour throughout the day. These can include water, tea with sugar, bouillon, or any of the commercially prepared sports drinks. If vomiting continues and you can’t keep anything down, try to take small sips or suck on ice chips. For children: Have a child with food poisoning drink five ounces of clear liquids per hour; infants should drink at least one ounce per hour.
- Apply heat. If you have stomach pain or cramps you may get some relief by placing a heating pad (on the low setting) or a hot water bottle on your abdomen.
- Reintroduce foods gradually. After your symptoms diminish, gradually reintroduce soft and easily digested foods such as cooked cereal, bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, potatoes, eggs, and noodles. Once the diarrhea has stopped and your appetite increases, you can return to your normal diet.
- Avoid milk and milk-based products for several days after diarrhea has subsided. This will allow the enzymes in the small intestine—needed to handle the lactose contained in milk and milk-based products—to be replenished.
Beyond Home Remedies: When To Call Your Doctor
Contact your physician immediately if you develop any of the following: sudden and severe diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, or a fever of 100°F or higher.
Certain people need medical attention if they develop mild symptoms of food poisoning. These include the elderly, young children, heavy antacid users, pregnant women, people with diabetes, alcoholics, or anyone with a weakened immune system. These people are at greater risk of life-threatening complications.
Also contact your physician if symptoms of mild food poisoning don’t subside in a week.
What Your Doctor Will Do
After taking a personal history, your physician will try to identify the source of the food poisoning. Laboratory cultures of vomit, feces, and blood may be taken. Suspected foods will also be examined for contaminants. If you have botulism, you will be given a prescription medication. If you have severe vomiting and diarrhea, you may be given medication to stop them.
Now that you have read up on what food poisoning is, the food poison symptoms, and how to tell whether or not what you have is food poisoning or flu, hopefully, you will feel that you have been helped in avoiding it. While it is essential to make sure that you keep yourself cautious and aware of potential stomach flu or food poisoning health scares, it is also essential that you do not let it impact your happiness or your life.
It’s not worth limiting yourself – try and be cautious around certain foods! Be sure not to keep the information for yourself, though – foodborne illness can be a severe problem, so make sure that your friends and family are as well-educated as you are on this vital subject!