How To Avoid
Food Poisoning Symptoms

Food poisoning symptoms strike many thousands of people every day. In fact food poisoning is one of the main causes of lost mans days of work so you could say it costs the economy millions across the course of a year.

There are varying estimates but some suggest that officially reported cases of food poisoning symptoms may represent only the tip of a pretty large iceberg - maybe as few as 10% of actually numbers of cases.

The reason for this considerable possible under-reporting is that it s thought that the vast majority of food poisoning cases are relatively mild and frequently put down to a tummy bug, a virus, over-indulgence of one kind or another or even "the 'flu". This is because the many mild cases of food borne illness - that cause day or two sickness - are often caused by poor domestic hygiene practices.

With the general decline in cooking skills many people are ignorant of basic good hygiene practices in the kitchen and can regulary be running the risk of making both themselves and their family members ill.

Not to be Under Estimated

But food poisoning symptoms should not be treated lightly. Every year hundreds of people become severely ill with the symptoms of food poisoning and a proportion of vulnerable sufferers die from the complicationms arising from the illness.

Food posioning can be a particularly serious problem for the very old, the very young and immunity suppressed individuals - such as those being treated for serious health problemsm, recuperating from major surgery or suffering immuno-suppressing illnesses or conditions such as AIDS.

When people are already in a compromised health and perhaps weakened then the typical symptoms of food poisoning can very quickly lead to dangerous states of dehydration from which it becomes impossible to recover. When you are vomiting copiously, and passing liquid faeces then fluids leave the body very quickly but are difficult to replace effectively. The elctrolyte balace of crucial salts can become depleted and this has knock-on consequences for health.

Far from a Laughing Matter

So, far from being a joking matter about 'Montezuma's Revenge' or 'Gippy Tummy', food poisoning symptoms can very really become a matter of life and death. Indeed some forms of food poisoning have, in themselves, literally paralysingly toxic effects on the body and are frequently fatal in and of themselves - dehydration and such issues, by the by!

Such is the case with Botulism, which used to be a much bigger problem when folks regularly practised home bottling and canning of food for preserving foods that were going out of saeson and to 'tide themselves ' over the lean winter period...and they got the process wrong!

Even now fatalities arising from Botulism food poisoning symtoms cause deaths every year - most often in remote aresa where traditional preservations methods are still used. The combination of the illness and remoteness from help contrive to lead to the fatal results.

Thankfully, at least, Botulism is relatively rare as a cause of food poisoning symptoms and probably accounts for less than 1% of annual cases. There are other forms of food poisoning that are far more common.

Causes, Symptoms and Incubation Periods

Food poisoning symptoms can be caused by various of micro-organisms. Causative organisms include bacterial sources, fungi, viral sources, and parasitic sources all of which transmit to the human via the food they consume.

Other things that may cause food poisoning include pathogenic toxins or toxic chemicals that may be present in food either produced by organisma or from other natural or man-made sources.

Different types of food poisoning, caused by the different organisms or toxins, are indicated by the differing range of food poisoning symptsymptoms they instigate. This means that there is no aet of symptoms of food poisoning that apply to all causes.

That said there are several common food poisoning symptoms that many of the types of poisoning caues and these include: pain and cramps in the abdomen, diarrhea (possibly with evidence of blood), nauseous feelings, sickness, feverishness, headaches, general body achiness and feeling washed out and fatigued.

In the case of most types of food poisoning, there is a delay prior to the onset of food poisoning symptoms. This period is referred to as the "incubation period". In some cases the toxins released by certain organisms result in an incubation period of as little as a hour (although this is quite rare). More commonly the toxic symtoms occur within 24 to 48 hours - although they can take as much as a week or even considerably more to develop - the total period will be influenced by the specific organism and the amount of toxic food or concentration of toxin consumed. (See incubation period for food poisoning page)

This can mean that it may well not be the latest, or most recent, foods consumed that are to blame for the onset of food poisoning symptoms. A fact that most people are unaware of - as it is typical to blame 'last nights curry' or something I 'just ate' - whereas the real culprit may have been consumed several days earlier!

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