This is an acute food-borne illness that results from eating food contaminated with bacteria, toxins, parasites or viruses.
Common culprits: Poorly cooked meat, raw foods and unwashed vegetables. These harbor germs that cause food poisoning.
More often: Food poisoning occurs through contaminated meat, poultry, eggs, milk and seafood.
Common pathogens (bacteria that cause disease): Salmonella, E coli, Campylobacter, Giardia and some viruses such as Norwalk. Sometimes, eating toxic mushrooms can also cause symptoms of food poisoning.
Different causes of food poisoning result in different symptoms. There is no fixed set of symptoms that can define the illness. Symptoms usually occur within hours of consuming contaminated food, but sometimes can even take days to manifest.
This can lead to misdiagnosis, especially because you may not be able to identify the offending foodstuff.
The typical symptoms of food poisoning are:
• Stomach cramps
~ In severe cases, there might be blood in the stools and dehydration as a result of fluid loss.
~ Some exceptions like botulism (an acute paralytic disease caused by the neurotoxin, botulin, especially in food), might be present with nerve symptoms, like weakness and difficulty swallowing rather than digestive system problems.
Generally, symptoms resolve by themselves without any specific treatment, except in severe cases.
Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Watch out for warning signs.