Food poisoning is an acute short-term illness, which comes as a result of exposure to toxins of pathogenic bacteria that enter the body after consuming food or beverage of inadequate quality or products with expired shelf life. It manifests as gastritis or gastroenteritis.
Poisoning or food poisoning can often be caused by a larger number of bacteria, which are part of the normal flora in our intestines. The outbreaks occur more often during the summer. The main reason is the use of tainted dairy or meat products, raw eggs, mushrooms, berries or vegetables, which were not rinsed well enough, water from open reservoirs, as well as failing to follow the general rules of hygiene.
- Abrupt onset within the first 24 hours after consuming the product.
- The body temperature increases dramatically, but also it can remain normal.
- Vomiting, which brings relief.
- The vomit has a sour smell and contains particles of undigested food.
- Occasional abdominal cramps.
- Weakness, pallor, dizziness.
All of the symptoms are short-term and generally improve as early as the second day.
Firstly, you have to induce vomiting, using a spoon to push the root of tongue, only if not more than 30 minutes have passed from the time of poisoning. Inducing vomiting is contraindicated in the following situations:
- Loss of consciousness.
- Children under the age of 5 years.
Gastric lavage. You should drink around two litres of water, pale pink potassium permanganate solution and of solution of sodium bicarbonate and then induce vomiting. You should wash out the stomach until only clear water comes out.
The sooner you induce vomiting the less toxins enter the body hence improvement will also come faster. After that you should take some activated charcoal or any other sorbent. If need be, you can take an anti-diarrhoea medicine. Very important in case of food poisoning is the prevention of dehydration. To achieve this you have to drink considerably more fluids – the more you drink, the less intoxicated you will be. It is better to use pharmaceutical solutions or salt water (2 tbsp salt per 2 litres of water), non-carbonated mineral water or strong tea. The folk medicine recommends teas and infusions of mint, melissa, ginger, chamomile, St. John’s wort, chicory with a few drops of lemon juice. To avoid vomiting you have to sip every once in a while.
If you lose consciousness you can regain it using smelling salts, while persistent fever can be reduced using ibuprofen or paracetamol. On the first day the patient should drink only and avoid all food until signs of improvement are shown.
Folk remedies are appropriate in cases of minor poisoning. However they should be avoided by children under the age of 12. When to seek help from a doctor. In cases of acute poisoning you have to be treated in the hospital.
Indications for hospitalisation
- Changes of consciousness.
- Infants under one year of age.
- Children of all ages, dehydrated adults, or anyone in a serious condition.
- Persistent vomiting, causing sever dehydration, and frequent diarrhoea.
In hospital conditions the patient will receive intravenous liquids, stomach irrigation, sorbents, antimicrobial remedies. In case these do not have the desired effect, doctors might resort to antibiotics or hormones.
The outcome in cases of food intoxication is generally favourable. Lethal outcomes are extremely rare.