A term used to describe illness suspected of being caused by contaminated food (or beverages). Food poisoning can affect all ages. Outbreaks can affect several members of a household, customers who dined at the same restaurant, nursing home patients, cruise ship passengers, university students, children in day care, or shoppers who bought contaminated food in a store.
Causes of food poisoning
Certain bacteria such as campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and others. Botulism is rare, life threatening food poisoning.
Virus infection such as Norwalk virus (a common contaminent of shelfish), adenovirus, and rotavirus.
Chemical causes such as contamination with insecticide or food served in lead-glazed pottery.
Eating plants or animals that contain a naturally occurring poison, such as mushrooms or toadstools. Shellfish may contain a toxin that is not destroyed by cooking.
Risk increases with
- Eating food that is improperly prepared
- Lack of good hygiene when preparing food.
- Drinking water or eating raw foods when traveling in a foreign country.
Symptoms and sign
Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever are among the most common symptoms of food poisoning; dehydration often follows, in some cases, illness can be severe and even fatal, with widespread symptoms affecting not just the digestive organs but other parts of the body such as the kidneys and nervous system. Hemolytic uremic syndrome, which arises from E.coli infection, can result in bloody diarrhea followed by kidney failure and death. Botulism affects nervous system and can lead to meningitis or, in pregnant women, spontaneous abortions.
The time it takes for symptoms of food poisoning to develop varies, depending on the source of the illness. With bacterial toxins that are formed before ingestion, the onset of symptoms is relatively rapid.
Food poisoning caused by organisms that produce toxins after ingestion, or by organisms that directly infect the gastrointestinal cells, typically takes longer to develop, usually from several hours to a few days.
Depending on the type of poisoning, symptoms can be shortlived or prolonged.
Diagnosis of food poisoning
Diagnosis rests on the food history and symptoms followed by specific laboratory testing of suspect food (if available), feces, and blood.
Prevention of food poisoning
- Avoid raw seafood or meat
- Avoid unpasteurized food products
- Property cook and store food.
- Keep food preparation areas and utensils clean.
- Throw food items away that are old, have an “off” smell, or those in bulging tin cans.
- Always wash hands before preparing food.
Homeopathic treatment for food poisoning
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat food poisoning but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat poisoning that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of food poisoning:
Arsenic Album, Natrum Phos, lycopodium, Ipecauc, Pulsatilla, Antim Crude, Carbo Veg, Colchicum, Nux Vomica, Pulsatilla, Urtica Urens, Phosphoric Acid, Podophyllum, Aloe, Bromium, Psorinum, Pyrogenium, and many other medicines.