Food poisoning is a condition caused by consumption of contaminated food. Food can get contaminated in various ways, and usually by careless handling such as handling food with dirty hands or in unsanitary surroundings, not properly warming or heating food, consuming food after the expiry date, food which is not properly stored, and different other seemingly innocuous ways.
Interestingly though, food poisoning is rarely critical and victims can recover within a week without having to check into a health care facility. There are however, those cases too that require hospital admission and might even be critical to a life threateing point. So what are those telltale signs of food poisoning that should alert one to immediately seek suitable environment for your needs or possible medical attention for timely intervention? Here are 5 early symptoms:
1. ABDOMINAL CRAMPS
When those little twinges of discomfort begin, and in a period when it cannot be excused as menstrual cramps (for ladies), or if you’re not susceptible to having such pains, then you should pay attention to those warning bells. Most especially when it happens after you’ve eaten at a new place, or food which you cannot vouch for its handling or storage. Such cramps are usually followed by diarrhoea, so you want to make sure you locate a good toilet or a hospital for proper diagnosis!
Diarrhoea on a good day is never fun. For one, you don’t even remember to carry your current paperback or newspaper along to the toilet for some ‘powder room alone-time’. And in the case of food poisoning, this is accompanied by cramps (hopefully mild at the early stage). And diarrhoea does not end with one trip to the little room sadly…the next bout might hit you just as your hand is on the door knob to leave. So stay hydrated and keep to dry/bland foods.
Nausea is oftentimes used interchangeably with vomitting, but they are different things. Nausea may result to vomitting but it could also happen without the person vomitting. It involves and uncomfortable feeling in the upper stomach with an urge to vomit. Nausea could be caused by any number of things like pregnancy or a virus, however when it comes with other syptoms like diarrrhoea, cramps, it is wise to seek medical attention. Over the counter meds like Imodium and Pepto Bismol may provide relief, but be careful to not rely on the temprary relief, thereby delaying treatment of a potentially severe case.
When nausea can’t be suppressed and you find yourself making a mad dash to empty the contents of your stomach in between bouts of diarrhoea, then all is definitely not well and a physician should be called upon, especially when it happens consistently and you can’t keep liquids in. When this happens, especially one to eight hours after a meal and its forceful too, then it’s most likely from food poisoning. It usually subsides after a while because it’s the body’s way of getting rid of harmful toxins.
5. LOSS OF APPETITE
Whether or not it’s from food poisoning, food is probably the last thing anybody who is not feeling well would feel like eating. This is also accompanied by headaches, light fevers, and general feelings of weekness. In this situation, make efforts to take some liquid to stay hydrated, and try some dry bland foods. Stay away from dairy, spicy foods, and foods with too much processed sugars.
If after one week, symptoms persist, and you start experiencing syptoms like bloody urine, difficulty speaking, and a temperature of about 101.5°F, then the situation is obviously more serous than you thought and could be life threatening. At this point, take no chances and consult a doctor.