Food poisoning is a particularly nasty illness caused by contaminated food. The most common types of bacteria and viruses we know about which cause food poisoning are salmonella, E.coli and norovirus. You will usually notice symptoms of food poisoning within a couple of hours of eating the contaminated food or up to a few days later, and in most cases people recover without the need for any treatment. If you’re not feeling any better within a few days, you should see a GP.
Food poisoning symptoms
If you have food poisoning you will experience one or more of these main symptoms:
Loss of appetite
Dehydration is also a possible symptom of food poisoning, so it’s very important to try and drink fluids while you are recovering.
Causes of food poisoning
The main source of food poisoning is contaminated food – usually meat, poultry or dairy products. Food can be contaminated at any stage of the production and cooking process, and is caused by types of bacteria, parasites or viruses. Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, which is usually found on raw meat, poultry and unpasteurised milk.
event contaminating food at home by:
Storing it properly and keeping raw meat at the bottom of the refrigerator
Avoid cross contamination by washing cooking utensils and equipment during food preparation
Always cook food thoroughly
Always wash hands before preparing food or handling raw meat
Don’t reheat food more than once
Do not wash raw meat or poultry
Food poisoning will usually go away on its own, so in most cases you should just wait for the illness to run its course. The medical advice includes:
Replace fluids lost by drinking plenty of water
Avoid food and drinks which will make the symptoms worse – caffeine, alcohol, spicy and fatty food
Eat when you can and introduce bland foods such as crackers, toast and rice.
However, if you find that your symptoms are very severe (you can’t stop vomiting) or they haven’t passed within a few days, you should see a doctor. Chat to a babylon GP within minutes.