Food Poisoning Treatment and Prevention

Here are some information about the diagnosis and treatment of food poisoning or foodborne disease:

Diagnosis of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness, refers to an infection which is usually diagnosed by certain laboratory tests that determine a particular organism that caused the disease.  Bactiera like campylobacter, salmonella, and e.Coli 0157 are observed by culturing the stool samples in the laboratory and determining the bacteria that develop in the controlled condition of the lab. Parasites can be determined by examining the stools under the microscope while viruses are harder to recognize because they are too small to see under a light microscope and very hard to culture. Viruses are usually recognized by testing the stool samples for genetic markers that show a specific virus is present.

Many food poisoning infections are undetermined by routine laboratory procedures and they need specialized, experimental, and/or costly tests that are not commonly available. If diagnosis is to be conducted, the patient must seek medical attention, the doctor must decide to order diagnostic tests, and the laboratory must apply the necessary procedures. Since there are many individuals who do not seek medical attention, many are not tested and in many instances, foodborne cases are left undiagnosed. For instance, US Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC estimates that there were 38 cases of salmonella incidence for each case that is diagnosed and reported to public health authorities.

Treatment of Food Poisoning

There are different types of food poisoning or foodborne illness, and they may need different procedures, basing on the symptoms they cause.

Food Poisoning Causing Diarrhea and Vomiting

Food poisoning cases that mainly cause diarrhea or vomiting may result to dehydration if the person loses more body fluids and salts, also known as electrolytes, than they take in. Substituting the lost fluids and electrolytes and keeping up with the fluid intake are essential. Id diarrhea is already severe, oral rehydration solution like ceralyte pedialyte or oralyte must be taken to substitute the fluid losses and avoid dehydration. Sports beverages like Gatorade do not substitute the loss of fluid correctly, and therefore, should not be used for the treatment of diarrheal diseases.

The preparations of bismuth subsalicylate like Pepto-Bismol, can lower the period and severity of the dimple diarrhea. If diarrhea and cramps do happen without the stools or fever, the individual can take antidiarrheal treatment may give symptomatic relief but these treatments must not be used if there is high fever or blood in the stools since they may make the disease worst.

When to Contact Healthcare Professional

A healthcare professional must be consulted if diarrheal disease is accompanied by”

  • Blood in the stools
  • High fever or a temperature more than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit  measured orally
  • Symptoms of dehydration which includes less urination, dry mouth and throat, and dizziness when one tries to stand up
  • Diarrheal disease that last beyond three days
  • Prolonged vomiting that stops keeping the fluids down, resulting to dehydration

Use of Antibiotics

If your doctor does not prescribe antibiotic, it may be because the disease is caused by viruses and may improve within two or three days without the antibiotic medications. Actually, antibiotic has no impact on viruses and applying antibiotics to cure a viral infection can result to more damage than good. Antibiotic is not usually needed even in mild bacterial infection cases.

Other treatments may help symptoms and thorough hand washing can prevent the spread of infection to others.  Over-use of antibiotics is the main reason why many bacteria are resistant. Resistant bacteria are no longer killed by the antibiotics, and this means that it is essential to use antibiotics only when it is really needed. Incomplete medication can cause bacteria to become resistant. If antibiotic is prescribed, it is very crucial to take all of the medications as prescribed and not to discontinue early just because the symptoms seem to be improving.

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