Cases of food poisoning typically affect millions of individuals all over the world every year, resulting to hospitalization and even cause a number of deaths. Food poisoning can be caused by toxins and bacteria. Even though food poisoning can cause various symptoms, most of these are actually beneficial. If the individual attempts to get rid of the symptoms, it will actually prevent the body from fighting off these microorganisms, thus it is best to allow the symptoms to do their task as long as tolerated by the individual.
What are the types?
The type of food poisoning experienced by the individual will determine the type of symptoms that can occur and the way the body fights off the invaders. Most food-borne illnesses mainly affects the intestines while some such as fish poisoning, botulism and mushroom poisoning can affect the nerves.
The poisons that attack the nerves can cause serious results than those that only affect the stomach. As a result, the body will have a difficult time in fighting off these effects before they cause serious damage such as paralysis.
What are the intestinal symptoms?
Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain are the most prevalent symptoms among those who have salmonella, campylobacter, shigella or E. coli that enter via the intestines. The bacteria infect the lining of the intestines which produces toxins that cause the symptoms. The body pulls the fluids into the intestine to wash out the bacteria quickly, resulting to diarrhea or expels the bacteria through vomiting.
Even though these symptoms cause discomfort, they are the ways in which the body eliminates the toxins, thus anti-emetics or anti-diarrheal medications are not advised unless the symptoms are severe enough to cause dehydration. Most cases of food-borne infections are limited to the gut but can also spread through the bloodstream and other parts of the body.
What are the internal actions?
The abdominal symptoms are basically part of the infection-fighting procedures in the body that are noticeable but much more occurs on the interior of the body that fights the infection. The stomach acids are capable of inactivating the bacteria, thus antacids should not be taken to treat the symptoms since this will only diminish the effectiveness of the stomach to control the infection. Take note that the body produces antibodies to attack the invading bacteria and mobilizes the white blood cells to engulf and destroy the bacteria.
The intake of calcium supplements or probiotics can help the body fight against food poisoning by increasing the amount of good bacteria in the gut. When activated charcoal is used, it works by binding to the bacteria and eliminates it through the feces which appear black in color.
Dehydration is the frequent complication of food poisoning but other serious effects are more difficult for the body to fight off on its own. If the individual has fever higher than 101 degrees F, persistent diarrhea for more than 2-3 days, lightheaded or has a racing pulse, the body might not be able to keep up with the infection and this would require intravenous fluids or antibiotics. If you want to learn how to manage dehydration, click here.