If you ingest food or drink that is contaminated by external agents like microbes or the toxic substances released by them, you can get an illness known as food poisoning. This contamination may be introduced in the food due to negligence, carelessness, or unhygienic conditions during the preparation or processing phases. As the poisoned food reaches your digestive system, the harmful external toxicants pose a hindrance to the healthy functioning system. The number of symptoms you may experience as well as their severity vary. However, food poisoning rarely escalates to a serious level and often fades out on its own without medical intervention. If the symptoms are severe and prolonged, you need to seek medical help and may have to pay a visit to the hospital.
After the ingestion of contaminated food, you might start experiencing abdominal cramps. The intensity of such pains may vary depending on the severity of the food poisoning. The onset of abdominal cramps might take anywhere between an hour such as in the case of a Staphylococcus bacterial infection to even ten days as induced by a Campylobacter bacterial infection. Caused by the action of toxins on the digestive tract, this sign depends entirely on the attacking nature of the harmful substance present in the contaminated food. The symptoms may even exceed the limit of 12 days due to the presence of protozoan parasites like Giardia, which typically infect and reproduce in the small intestine.
After a few hours of the ingestion of contaminated food, an onset of watery diarrhea may occur. This symptom is caused primarily by the bacterial action within the poisoned food or drink. The toxicants in the ingested matter cause your small intestine to produce a tremendous amount of water, triggering frequent and watery diarrhea. Microbial action may have created these toxicants before you ate or drink the virus, or even after you ingested it. Diarrhea should start fading away in a day or two, but it will leave you extremely weak and discomforted.
Vomiting is your body’s primary mechanism that it uses to get rid of any substance that it suspects is harmful to the digestive tract. As soon as the contaminants in the food start affecting your system, you will start feeling nauseous and may even have to vomit. The bacterial agents might produce toxins due to their action on the food before or after ingestion, which will irritate the digestive tract. Hence, your body tries to throw them back outside in the form of vomit.
Dehydration is a prevalent symptom of food poisoning that usually confirms the diagnosis in association with other signs. You may feel extraordinarily thirsty and weak. Also, there will be little or no urge to urinate at all. However, it is easy to avoid the occurrence of dehydration by drinking enough water so that your body can compromise for excessive diarrhea and vomiting. If food poisoning occurs in infants or babies, then dehydration can become a severe threat. Medical assistance becomes necessary if the lost fluids need replacement intravenously.
Food poisoning may also occur due to the ingestion of chemical toxins, for instance, poisonous mushrooms. Mushroom poisoning is a kind of food poisoning that may even prove to be fatal. Also associated with gastric troubles and nausea, such poisoning causes mental stress as well. You may feel dizzy with a lot of mental confusion and lethargy. Watery eyes and excess salivation can also be present. Do not ignore these symptoms and seek medical help as burgeon poisoning can get fatal quite quickly.
Fever is the human body’s primary defense to infection and invading microbes. The rise in body’s temperature is the attempt to neutralize and weaken the invading external bodies. It does so to make the immune system’s work more effectively. The body switches on this defense in the case of food poisoning as well. Fighting back the presence of a fever is not advised until it is extreme and disrupting in nature. You may also feel dizzy, weak and extremely tired if you have consumed poisonous foods.
Besides the condition of diarrhea, a person suffering from food poisoning may even notice a certain blackness and tardiness in the stool. The presence of blood or pus might also appear. The bowel movements can lead to inflammation. Such a symptom is not common in bacterial poisoning but is an indication of the action of amoebic bodies in the digestive system. Infection with Giardia and other parasites also don’t cause such symptoms. You can transfer amoeba, however, to the body by ingesting contaminated and unclean water.
A very severe form of bacterial food poisoning, also known as botulism, is characterized by drooping eyes and blurred vision. The presence of the toxin botulinum, which is produced by the Clostridium Botulinum bacteria, is what causes the disease. The toxin may be transferred to your body if you ingest food that contains the virus. The bacteria may even develop in the small intestine of newborn babies and infants and produce the toxin later. Botulism affects the muscles of the eye, and you might be unable to control the movement of your eyelids as well as the pupils, even though you are fully conscious.
These symptoms are also the indication of the presence of the disease of botulism. In more severe forms, the disease causes the weakness of the muscles of the face as well as the throat. In such a case, the production of saliva is decreased exponentially, causing dryness of mouth as well as the throat. You may also be unable to make any expressions as the muscles that are required to do so do not remain functional. Other functions of the mouth like chewing, talking, and so on, become extremely hard as well.
As the disease of botulism grows and becomes more severe, added muscles start losing their functionality. Slowly, the person may start losing the mobility of limbs as well. In a dangerous form, botulism can make the muscles required for respiration to go weak, causing troubles in breathing. In rare cases, respiratory failure may also occur. The weakening of muscles results in a rise of carbon dioxide level in the bloodstream that can make a person go into a coma. In most severe cases, botulism can be fatal.
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