Food poisoning is perhaps one of the greatest fears people may have. Although typically associated with eating a meal at a restaurant, many cases of food poisoning are caused at home due to cross contamination. As an example, this happens when you use the same knife to cut chicken as you do to cut lettuce. If you don’t wash your knife prior to reusing it, you’ll contaminate the lettuce with trace germs from the chicken.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning can be felt throughout the entire body and in a wide variety of ways. You may experience sharp pains in your abdomen or rectum. Through your entire body you might feel chills, dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, fever, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, weakness, or sweating. These can occur at the same time or in phases.
In addition to the external symptoms, you might also experience severe diarrhea, dehydration, vomiting, bloating, gagging, and flatulence, followed by stomach cramps and a headache.
Most individual who have had food poisoning say it is one of the most miserable, horrible feelings they’ve ever felt.
Food Poisoning Treatment
Treatment of food poisoning can range from at-home treatment to medical interventions from a physician. Depending on the type of food poisoning you have, your doctor might prescribe rounds of antibiotics to combat the infection specific to you. He or she might need to draw labs to determine what bacteria is causing your symptoms.
It’s important to replenish your fluids when experiencing food poisoning. Once you’re able to keep fluids down, you’ll want to drink plenty of water and electrolytes to bring balance to your body. The sooner you can begin this process, the sooner your body can begin to heal.
Once your body has been brought back to balance, you’ll want to slowly introduce foods back into your diet. Start with light foods like rice, crackers, and jello. These are easy to digest and ist in your stomach better than heavier foods. Chicken or beef broth is also a good option.
Preventing Food Poisoning
The best way to prevent poisoning is to keep a clean prep and cooking area. Wash your hands, utensils, and area frequently and between each use. Hot, soapy water is the best solution to use for cleaning your kitchen.
It’s also important to keep raw foods away from already cooked and prepared foods. As mentioned, cross contamination is a major cause of food poisoning. Following the rules of separation will ensure you’re kept safe from most contamination.
Finally, make sure you cook all foods to their appropriate temperature. This is particularly important for fish, poultry, and pork. Ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit; steaks and veal to 145; chicken and turkey to 165. Defrost meat in the refrigerator and make sure all meat is stored at proper temperatures. If you’re ever in doubt as to whether a meat is safe, throw it out. It’s better to be safe than sorry.