Food poisoning is caused by certain chemicals and microorganisms (bacteria, viruses). Bacteria feel great and multiply at a temperature of 32–43 ° C, so the chances of catching food poisoning from the end of May to the beginning of September are the highest. Let’s see where in the summer you can come across spoiled or poorly prepared foods.
- The most common cause of poisoning is improperly prepared food that we eat at home or in a restaurant. To protect food, follow the rules of preparation, wash your hands with soap before cooking and eating, as well as after eating.
- The most common symptoms of food poisoning include an upset stomach, abdominal pain or cramping, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and fever up to 38 ° C.
- Usually food poisoning goes away after two days. It will be easier to survive the unpleasant symptoms if you drink more, refuse fatty foods, eat in small portions and relax more.
- Sometimes food poisoning is severe. Be sure to call a doctor if after two days the symptoms do not go away or intensify, the temperature rises above 38 ° C, the stomach hurts very much, or if there are signs of blood in the vomit or feces.
- If your loved one has weakness, nausea and double vision, if he has difficulty swallowing and breathing, if he has slurred speech 6 hours – 10 days after he ate canned food, immediately call an ambulance. It can be a deadly disease – botulism, which must be treated in a hospital.
1. At the restaurant
Most of all we risk by eating dishes from unprocessed (raw) products – for example, beef tartar – or seafood: raw oysters or mussels. Most often, the fault for such poisoning lies with unscrupulous suppliers who deliver products to the restaurant that have not passed a sanitary inspection.
In the restaurant you can pick up:
- norovirus – symptoms will appear in 12–48 hours;
- shigellosis – symptoms occur after 24–48 hours;
- rotavirus infection – symptoms will come to light in 1-3 days;
- cholera (pathogen – the bacterium Vibrio vulnificus) – symptoms appear after 1-7 days;
- hepatitis A – symptoms may occur after 28 days.
Important! In case of serious poisoning, the hospital will ask where the patient could have been poisoned. Therefore, in the article we give the time after which the symptoms of the disease most often occur. Sometimes, by comparing the time the symptoms appear to the date the patient went to a restaurant or store, doctors can prevent the spread of infection.
2. In the dining room or street cafe
The highest chances of getting infected are through fried, boiled or baked meat (in street cafes – hot dogs and burgers), stews and gravy – all those products that are offered hot. Together with them, you can get the bacterium Clostridium perfringens, which causes symptoms of poisoning after 8-16 hours.
In canteens, where they cook without safety precautions, for example, cutting a salad on a board for meat or fish, you can catch salmonellosis. In this situation, symptoms of poisoning will occur after 1-3 days.
3. Through food and products purchased at the store
There is a risk of infection through products that are cooked directly in large chain stores: salads in plastic containers by weight, cream sauces and cream cakes. If store employees do not wash their hands before cooking or don’t wear gloves, there is a risk that Staphylococcus aureus will fall into the finished dish. In this case, the symptoms of poisoning will develop in 1-6 hours.
The second source of infection is the products from which we cook at home. First of all, it is chilled meat and poultry.
Along with animal feces, pathogens can enter the meat surface:
- bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) – symptoms of poisoning will occur after 1-8 days;
- bacteria from the genus Campylobacter – symptoms appear in 2-5 days;
- parasitic microorganism Giardia Lamblia – symptoms will be felt in 1-2 weeks.
Do not try farm products directly from the tray: cheeses, unpasteurized milk, unwashed vegetables and fruits. “For change” with these products can get listeriosis. If a person becomes infected, symptoms will appear in 9–48 hours.
4. In your own kitchen
All the bacteria listed above can be infected if stored improperly (for example, leave food for 2 hours at room temperature, outside the refrigerator) and cook food purchased incorrectly. At the cottage and on vacation, there is a risk of poisoning if you drink unboiled water or unpasteurized milk, and do not wash your hands, vegetables, or fruits.
A separate and very serious danger is canned home, such as pickled mushrooms, smoked and salted fish, potatoes baked in aluminum foil. If you violate the cooking technology, Clostridium botulinum, the causative agent of botulism, can get into these dishes (we will consider this dangerous disease in detail below).
“Something is spinning your stomach”: how to understand that you are poisoned
Most food poisoning is acute. This means that they happen suddenly and do not last long.
Here are the most common symptoms of food poisoning :
- stomach upset;
- cramping or abdominal pain;
- nausea and vomiting;
- diarrhea – three or more watery stools per day;
- fever – fever up to 38 ° C or more.
What to do with food poisoning
It is difficult to figure out what the cause of poisoning is on your own. The good news is that this is not always necessary. Often the symptoms of food poisoning pass by themselves, a person can very well cope with them without the help of a doctor.
The main thing with food poisoning is to avoid dehydration. Usually it is enough to drink more liquid, eat in small portions, temporarily abandon fatty foods (it is better to limit yourself to cereals on the water, rice or oatmeal soup) and relax more.
Additional measures are needed only if dehydration has already occurred. To understand whether dehydration has begun, you can pay attention to the color of urine. Normally, a person urinates every three to five hours, urine should be light yellow or almost colorless. If a person urinates less often and if he has dark yellow urine, this indicates dehydration.
In this situation, it is recommended to take rehydration drugs, which are sold in a pharmacy without a prescription. * The composition of such preparations includes the substances necessary for the body: carbohydrates, sodium, potassium and chlorides. If you dissolve a pharmaceutical product in water and drink it according to the specified scheme, you can avoid the loss of salts that are washed out of the body with diarrhea and severe vomiting. But you can make a rehydration solution yourself. It is enough to dilute in a glass of clean boiled water (200 ml) one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of salt.
You need to take the solution every 10-15 minutes, 2-3 small sips (100-150 ml). Do not rush, otherwise vomiting may begin.
If within two days after the onset of symptoms the well-being of the poisoned person has not improved, you should consult a doctor.
What does not need to be done in case of poisoning
1. Take antibiotics on your own initiative
With the majority of bacteria that cause poisoning, the body is able to cope on its own, without assistance. Antibiotics are rarely needed, and only a doctor should prescribe them. If you take the medicine yourself, you can increase diarrhea and earn complications.
2. Thoughtlessly take drugs for diarrhea
No need to interfere with the body getting rid of viruses and bacteria. But if a person is in a hurry for an important meeting or on an airplane, you can still take an antidiarrheal drug. * The main thing is that there is no trace of blood in the stool, and the body temperature does not rise above 38 ° C. Such symptoms are a sign of a more serious illness, so it’s better to cancel everything and seek the help of doctors. Antidiarrheal drugs are not recommended for longer than 48 hours.
When to see a doctor
Sometimes, more serious infections may be hidden under the guise of food poisoning. We will talk about signs that may indicate a dangerous disease in this section. Medical assistance is required in the following cases:
1. Poisoning occurs atypically:
- after two days, the symptoms do not go away or intensify;
- the poisoned person has a chronic disease, due to which complications may occur against the background of poisoning;
- body temperature rose above 38 ° C;
- the stomach hurts very much;
- it is impossible to eat (even taking into account the diet described above) or drink;
- blood appeared in the stool or vomit;
- manifestations of diarrhea worry six or more times during the day.
2. If there are manifestations of botulism
Botulism is a fairly rare, but very serious and potentially fatal disease in which the nervous system suffers. Poisoning occurs due to the toxin that is released by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium lives in an oxygen-free environment, therefore, as we have already noted, it feels great in improperly prepared home canned food and other preparations.
A person may have botulism if there are such symptoms:
- doubles in the eyes or “fog” appears;
- the eyelids themselves go down;
- problems with speech;
- hard to swallow and breathe;
- there is a strong weakness in the muscles.
After eating contaminated food, symptoms of muscle paralysis usually occur after 18–36 hours, but can occur within six hours or even ten days. In any case, whenever a symptom occurs, urgently call an ambulance team.
How not to poison yourself on vacation
Cook the food correctly:
Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before starting cooking and after eating. Vegetables and fruits should also be thoroughly washed in clean running water before cooking.
If you are not sure that the tap water or the tap water is safe, only use bottled water. Cook meat, fish and vegetables separately. For each product, have your own chopping board.
Different products should be stored in different packages, and packages should not leak.
If cooking outdoors, bring a food thermometer with you to measure the internal temperature of the meat. Safe internal temperatures: bird (whole, in pieces or in the form of minced meat) – 74 ° C; beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops) – 63-71 ° C.
Perishable frozen foods can only be stored in the refrigerator. If you need to transport them, use a bag filled with ice. Remember: take-away prepared foods can be stored outside the refrigerator for a maximum of 2 hours. If it is hot outside (above 32 ° C) – no more than an hour.
Buy only safe food
- Do not take frozen and cooked food in punctured, partially torn, or otherwise damaged packaging.
- Do not buy frozen food if it is thawed. Choose only those products that you yourself have taken out of the freezer.
- If the expiration date has not yet expired, but the packaging looks swollen, do not buy the product and notify the seller.
- If the product has changed color, is moldy or smells unpleasant, it is better to throw it away.
- If you opened the package and from there the liquid splashed or foam began to flow – the product is spoiled, it must be discarded without trying. After contact with a hazardous product, be sure to wash your hands, and if foam gets on clothing, wash your clothes.
Choose safe restaurants and cafes
If the restaurant has a website, it is best to study it and read the reviews. In a room in a conspicuous place should be certificates and licenses for the sale of alcohol, if any. However, a beautiful corner of the consumer (in Russia) or an entire wall of certificates in beautiful frames (abroad) does not guarantee product safety.
The most reliable way to avoid poisoning is to pay attention to how the dish is cooked. Cold food should be cold, hot – hot. If you were given obviously undercooked meat, poultry, seafood or eggs, find yourself in this dish and ask for a properly cooked product.
If you choose food at the salad bar, make sure that salads are kept refrigerated. If food is in doubt, assert your right to replace the food. In our country, the protection of consumer rights in the provision of catering services is regulated by: Civil Code of the Russian Federation; The Law of the Russian Federation of 07.02.1992, No. 2300-1 “On the Protection of Consumer Rights”; The rules for the provision of catering services, approved by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of 08.15.1997, No. 1036.