Approximately 5.5 million people suffer from food poisoning here in the UK each and every year according to statistics issued by the Food Standards Agency. In this short article Broadgate Clinic London Wall will set out the symptoms of food poisoning, and the treatments available.
Some basic information about poisoning
Most of us will experience food poisoning at some time in our lives. In the majority of cases it self-cures within about 48 hours without the need for any medical intervention. In fact many people may not even recognise it as food poisoning, so the figure of 5.5 million is certain to be considerably higher.
Occasionally bouts of food poisoning can be more severe. With people who have weakened or compromised immune systems, they can become quite seriously ill, and can even prove fatal. This depends on the nature of the contamination, and how much contaminated food a person has eaten.
Common causes of food poisoning
The most common causes of food poisoning are:
- Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.
- Food contaminated with Escherichia coli bacteria – (E.coli)
- A virus such as Norovirus
The onset of the symptoms of food poisoning usually manifest themselves anywhere from 1 to 3 days after eating contaminated food. However, in some instances, some of the toxins in contaminated food can bring on the symptoms in a much shorter time.
Food poisoning symptoms
The common symptoms of food poisoning are:
- Feeling nauseous
- Experiencing painful stomach cramps
- Suffering from bouts of diarrhoea
When symptoms manifest themselves quicker, the earliest symptom is usually vomiting.
The foods that are easily susceptible to food poisoning
The way that food is handled, stored, prepared and cooked is often the determining factor where food poisoning is concerned. The types of foods most easily susceptible to food poisoning include:
- Raw eggs
- Unpasteurised milk
- Processed foods – e.g. cooked sliced meats, pates, pre-packaged sandwiches, and soft cheeses (especially those made with unpasteurised milk).
- Raw meat
- Raw poultry
- Raw shellfish and
The ways in which food becomes contaminated
Foods can easily become contaminated at any stage of the preparation, and cooking process. Common causes include:
- Food not being cooked through thoroughly – common culprits are burgers, kebabs, pork, poultry, and sausages.
- Incorrect storage of foods that should be stored at temperatures below 5° C
- Food that has been cooked then left warm for too long
- Someone with dirty hands handling the food
- Food that is past its “sell by” or “use by” date
- Cross contamination, something that has hit the press a lot recently with regard to washing chickens.
Food poisoning symptom relief
As mentioned earlier, the majority of people recover from food poisoning without need for medical treatment. However, in order to relieve symptoms. There are various things that you can do, including:
- Drink as much water as you can. This is particularly important if you suffer from diarrhoea, as this can have a significant dehydrating effect
- The taking of Oral Rehydration Salts (OSSs). These salts are usually available over-the-counter from pharmacies and are simply dissolved in water to replenish lost, glucose, minerals, and salt.
When you might decide to drop in at Broadgate Clinic London Wall
In certain circumstances, you may feel the need to consult a doctor, or if you work in London and it is inconvenient to get to your family GP, you can use the walk-in services of Broadgate Clinic London Wall. The circumstances where this might be necessary include:
- In cases where your symptoms are severe and have not improved after 48 hours.
- If you are running a high temperature of 38° C or above.
- If you have suffered severe hydration and symptoms include: dark, sunken eyes, and producing small quantities of dark, odorous urine.
- If you have been vomiting for more than two days.
- If you are not able to keep liquids down for longer than a day.
- If you experience diarrhoea that lasts for more than three days or that contains blood.
Food poisoning is most easily diagnosed when the symptoms are experienced by a number of people who have eaten the same food, at the same venue, at the same time. However, symptoms will normally disappear within 48 hours. If you work in London and are overly worried, or your symptoms last longer, then you can call in without appointment and chat to one of our clinicians here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall
Contact or visit us today!