Have you heard that there is a stomach bug that is going around in your area? This is a type of viral stomach flu that can affect different people. If you get the stomach flu, you can easily recover from it. Experiencing food poisoning is an entirely different experience though. There are millions of people who suffer from food poisoning every single year.
How Long Does Food Poisoning Last?
Once you get food poisoned, the only thought that you have on your mind is how you are going to get better. The duration how long you are going to be afflicted with food poisoning will highly depend on the food that you have consumed that caused the poisoning. If you have chronic illness or your immune system is weak, you have a higher chance of being afflicted with food poisoning.
How Food Contamination Occurs
The main reason why people suffer from food poisoning is because the food has been exposed to bacteria, viruses and other parasites that can enter the body. There are some people who suffer mild food poisoning and would be able to recover after some time but there are also some who can barely move because of the pain.
Some of the reasons why food contamination occurs are the following:
- Meat is undercooked.
- Meat has not been prepared properly.
- If someone who has gastroenteritis has touched the food the virus will transfer to the food.
- The food has come in contact with pests and even pets that are carriers of bacteria and viruses.
- When raw meat touches ready to eat food.
- When food is stored in unhealthy temperatures, usually too warm that will allow bacteria to grow.
- If food comes in contact with human or animal manure.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
How will you know if you are already suffering from food poisoning? There are some signs and symptoms that you have to watch out for.
- Sweating while having chills at the same time
- Extreme Tiredness
- Stomach Pains
Remember that the symptoms that you will experience will depend on what contaminated food you have consumed. There are times when you are going to experience food poisoning symptoms immediately after consuming the contaminated food while other times, you would feel it a few hours to a few days later.
Common Types of Food Poisoning
There are over 250 types of food poisoning that are recorded but some types are experienced more by people than others. Get to know the common types of food poisoning so you will know exactly what to do.
You can get this type of food poisoning from honey, salads, preserved food, fish and other soft cheeses.
- Difficulty in speaking and swallowing
It may take about 12 – 36 hours before the symptoms start to become rampant.
- E Coli
You can get this from consuming unpasteurized milk or juices, raw and undercooked meat, raw vegetables that were not properly cleaned and contaminated water.
- Abdominal Pain
It will take about 2 – 8 days before the symptoms of this condition will start to become evident.
- Clostridium Perfringens
You can get this from gravy, beef, precooked food, dried food and poultry.
- Stomach Cramps
This is a fast acting type of food poisoning as it will take less than a day before you start experiencing its symptoms.
You can get this from eating unpasteurized dairy products, meat and poultry that are raw and undercooked, contaminated water.
- Abdominal Pain
The symptoms may be experienced for up to 5 days to 1 week. The symptoms may start to appear within 2 – 7 days.
You can get this from eating undercooked or raw poultry and meat, fruits and vegetables and unpasteurized products.
- Abdominal Pain
It will take about 8 hours or more before the symptoms will start to be experienced by the individual.
This is a type of infection that is usually experienced in another country as this is due to contaminated food and water but mostly water. If you are not used to the water that is normal for other countries, you may acquire this condition.
- Stomach Cramps
If you are suffering from cholera, you are going to experience the effect from about a few hours to a full day.
- Giardia Infection
This infection is usually gotten from eating fruits, vegetables and uncooked food.
- Stomach Cramps
- Watery or Greasy Diarrhea depending on the food that you have consumed
This type of infection can stay in the system for about 7 – 10 days before the symptoms start to manifest.
- Hepatitis A
This is another type of infection that occur by consuming contaminated food or drink or seafood from waters that are contaminated.
- Abdominal Pain
Hepatitis A is one condition that does not manifest immediately. It may take 5 days to 50 before an infected person starts to feel some symptoms.
You can get this type of food poisoning when you eat soft cheese, ready to eat deli meals and unpasteurized meat.
- Headaches and Pain
Do remember that having this type of food poisoning when you are expecting can be a problem as it may cause miscarriage. The symptoms will start to manifest from 2 days to 2 months.
You can get this type of food poisoning from consuming contaminated food and beverages. If a person has this condition and touches your food, you are more at risk of acquiring this condition too.
- Stomach Cramps
How Do You Know if You Have Food Poisoning
You will not know for sure if you have food poisoning or not unless you go to the doctor because there may be other conditions that have the same symptoms. If you suspect that you are suffering from food poisoning, try to recall the food that you have eaten. It does not have to be the very first food that you consumed. It may be caused by food you have eaten days ago based on what you consumed.
Some people may be more vulnerable and will be affected more by food poisoning. For example, the elderly and children may experience more severe symptoms. They should be checked by the doctor immediately so that proper medical attention will be given.
There are times when you can allow yourself to heal at home but there are times when you will be recommended to see your doctor. Go to the doctor if you are over 60 years old, expecting or nursing, have a weak immune system and if you have a chronic health condition.
See your doctor if your food poisoning is characterized by these symptoms:
- If your diarrhea has lasted for more than two days.
- You are already experiencing some signs of dehydration.
- Bloody stools or urine
- High fever that is about 38 degrees.
- Blurred vision
- Muscle weakness
What to Do When You Are Suffering from Food Poisoning
If your doctor has already confirmed what you suspect, you may be given some medications that will help you feel better. These are other things that you can do in order to get relief from your condition:
- Drink plenty of water. Since you will probably experience diarrhea, make sure that you drink enough water so that you can still function properly.
- If in case you know that your food poisoning is caused by a virus that can be transferred from one person to another, try to avoid handling food or if you do, make sure that you will have the food washed thoroughly before being cooked.
- Take a lot of rest. Your body will feel fatigued so in order to make yourself feel better, take rests.
Do remember that the treatments for food poisoning will differ depending on the type of food poisoning that you are suffering from. Once your doctor diagnoses the right food poisoning type, you will be given instruction on what to do.
Eating Solid Food
After suffering from food poisoning, the last thing that you want to do is eat but you know that you should start eating food little by little. You can take small portions of bland food like the following:
These are some of the food products that you have to avoid so that you will not aggravate the condition of your stomach:
- Anything dairy especially if you are lactose intolerant
- Fatty Food
- Sweet Food Products
- Carbonated Beverages
How to Prevent Food Poisoning
In order to reduce your chances of getting food poisoned whether you are at home or you are eating at a restaurant, here are some of the things that you can consider:
- Make sure to wash your hands, utensils and the surfaces where you are going to place properly and thoroughly. For utensils, it is best to wash with warm water that is a bit soapy. Just make sure that you will not leave any soap behind.
- Your raw food should be separated from ready to ready to eat food products. If you do not do this, ready to eat food may become contaminated.
- Make sure that your food products are cooked in proper temperatures. There is a certain temperature required for various food products to ensure that your food will not be afflicted with harmful organisms anymore.
- Steaks, Lamb Chops, Pork and Veal should be cooked at 62.8 Degrees Celsius.
- Chicken and Turkey should be cooked at 73.9 Degrees Celsius.
- Ground beef should be cooked at 71.1 Degrees Celsius.
- Fish and shellfish should be cooked thoroughly before serving. Raw seafood may be more prone to becoming infected.
- Place perishable food products in refrigerators or freezers. Perishable food products may start to deteriorate about an hour after being exposed to normal temperature. The hotter the current temperature is, the faster you should place on your refrigerator or freezer.
- Make sure you know the proper way to defrost your food. You may defrost your food in room temperature so that it will defrost faster but this will make it more prone to various bacteria and viruses. Defrost the food that you want to thaw inside the refrigerator. It will make a lot of difference with the quality and the freshness of the food.
- If you feel that the food that was served to you was not properly thawed or prepared, then throw it out. There is no point in trying to consume something that may be bad for your health. It does not matter whether the food still looks and smells good. You do not know if there are already bacteria or viruses that are lurking on your food.
- Cool leftovers before storing in your refrigerator so that it will be less prone to having bacteria and viruses form and appear on the food. Make sure to consume leftovers about two days after you have stored it in your refrigerator. You may also heat your food before consuming in order to get rid of bacteria that may have formed while the food is stored.
- Take a look at the best before date of the food that you are planning to consume. It does not matter whether the food still looks okay. You have to respect the date if you want to avoid getting food poisoned.
If you know that you are prone to getting food poisoned or your current condition makes you more vulnerable to food poisoning, here are some of the food products that you should avoid:
- Raw or rare meat
- Raw or rare poultry
- Raw shellfish (oysters, scallops, mussels, clams)
- Raw sprouts
- Unpasteurized juices and dairy
- Uncooked processed food products such as hotdogs and other deli meat
With all of the things that you have learned about food poisoning including how long it lasts and the things that you should do to avoid it, you can get to enjoy food without worrying about possible bad effects.