Food Poisoning Treatment

Food Poisoning Treatment. Food poisoning is a gastrointestinal disease that occurs as a result of ingesting toxic, contaminated or bacterially contaminated food. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

What is food poisoning?

The term food poisoning refers to diseases in the gastrointestinal tract, which are caused by the consumption of poisonous, contaminated or bacterially contaminated food and meals. Food poisoning occurs frequently in the summer months, as the increase in outside temperatures accelerates the proliferation of corresponding germs.

In addition, the cold chains are interrupted more frequently during this time, for example, by the transport of food in a heated car after shopping in the supermarket. High-protein foods such as meat, fish or dairy and egg products are particularly susceptible to colonization by bacteria because they provide an excellent breeding ground.

Food Poisoning Treatment

types of food poisoning

Basically, different forms of food poisoning can be differentiated due to the nature of the underlying poisoning. Food poisoning due to food intoxication is due to toxins produced by bacteria in the food itself. The germination here, for example, goes back to a lack of hygiene conditions in the kitchen or in the preparation in general. Bacteria that cause food poisoning include Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium botulinum, Bacillus cereus and molds. As a result of the increased concentration of toxins, the first symptoms appear shortly after the consumption of the respective food.

In contrast, food poisoning from a food infection is caused by the agents themselves. They use food or drinks as a means of transport to get into the body of those affected. There they settle, multiply and trigger the symptoms typical of the disease. For example, bacteria of the genus Salmonella can cause foodborne infections called salmonellosis. Here already a small number of germs is enough to trigger the disease.

In case of food poisoning caused by a so-called toxi infection, affected persons pick up pathogens such as enteritis Salmonella via eating food or drinking contaminated drinks. The germs multiply in the body and form there mainly the toxins that lead to food poisoning and their symptoms .

In addition to bacterial toxins, further triggers for food poisoning come into consideration

  • Fungal toxins such as muscarine or amatoxin
  • Mold toxins, which include aflatoxin and ergot alkaloids
  • Herbal toxins such as atropine or scopolamine
  • Metals or metal compounds such as arsenic, lead and zinc
  • Toxins from fish and shellfish, for example tetrodotoxin

Symptoms of food poisoning

The typical symptoms of food poisoning are nausea , vomiting , diarrhea , abdominal cramps, fever , chills and painful stool or urinary urgency . Due to the variety and the variety of triggers are joined by other symptoms that are characteristic of the respective food poisoning. Thus, poisoning by the botulinum toxin from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum in the course of the disease to muscle paralysis, a loss of visual acuity as well as speech or swallowing lead.

Diagnosis of food poisoning

In the case of food poisoning, the doctor usually makes the diagnosis based on an in-depth questioning of the person concerned about the food and drink consumed. In combination with the occurring symptoms, they provide him with clear indications of the respective cause. As a rule, laboratory diagnostic proof is only given to a concrete suspicion, since a multitude of possible causes can be considered.

Sometimes the use of antibiotics is necessary

It may also be necessary to use antibiotics in case of food poisoning , but only in severe cases, such as those that are possible due to Salmonella or Listeria infections. The laboratory diagnostic pathogen detection is a prerequisite for therapy. Extremely strong poisons, such as the botulinum toxin, require the administration of an antidote to avoid a life-threatening course. In addition, those affected need intensive care and supervision.

Prevent food poisoning

Food poisoning can be prevented by observing certain hygiene rules in and around the kitchen and when cooking. It is also important to pay attention to the appropriate, careful handling of different foods.

What are the causes of food poisoning?

In food poisoning, the range of possible causes of toxic metals and compounds (for example, lead), plant toxins (eg, scopolamine) via mold toxins (eg, ergot alkaloids that may be present on rye or other cereals) and fungal toxins (for example, inadvertent consumption poisonous mushrooms such as the green tuberous toadstool) to a variety of bacterial pathogens (such as Salmonella or Listeria). They account for the vast majority of food poisoning.

Bacteria and their toxins are the most common cause of food poisoning

  • Bacteria of the genus Salmonella are among the major causes of food poisoning. They trigger a so-called salmonellosis, a gastrointestinal inflammation that leads to vomiting diarrhea. Among the known pathogens of this genus include typhus and paratyphoid fever. Transmission is through raw or insufficiently heated animal food. A particular risk comes from home-cooked foods that contain raw eggs.
  • The bacterium Campylobacter is one of the common causes of food poisoning . It triggers campylobacteriosis characterized by abdominal pain , bloody diarrhea and high fever . It is transmitted by insufficiently cooked poultry meat, eggs and raw eggs.
  • Bacteria of the genus Shigella can sometimes cause life-threatening shigellosis. This form of food poisoning is one of the causes, especially in regions with poor hygienic conditions. The transmission takes place in addition to the direct transmission path from person to person and indirectly via fecal (feces) impurities in food or drinking water.
  • The worldwide bacterium Yersinia is the cause of so-called Yersiniosis. Yersinia is transmitted by direct contact with infected animals (for example, pigs, rabbits, cats), but also by insufficiently cooked meat (for example, pork).
  • Certain strains of the bacterium Escherischia coli may also be among the causes of food poisoning. Transmission is through contaminated raw beef or raw milk. Direct human-to-human transmission is also possible.
  • Certain staphylococci cause a so-called food poisoning, which leads to food poisoning . The causes here are toxins that produce the pathogens in each food. These can not be destroyed by heating. Otherwise, germ-free appearing foods can still contain toxins, even if they are well cooked, cooked or fried. They are mainly transmitted by ready meals such as meat dishes, pies, cooked ham, milk and milk products, egg products, salads, ice cream, pasta or pastries.
  • The so-called listeriosis is triggered by Listeria (Listeria monocytogenes) and is also one of the causes of food poisoning. Transmission may be by eating vegetable and animal foods, such as raw milk, soft cheese or raw meat. Listeria monocytogenes reproduces even at low temperatures, which is why keeping food in the fridge does not protect it from Listeria.
  • Clostridium botulinum is one of the most dangerous causes of food poisoning because it produces one of the most potent poisons, the botulinum toxin. The poison is absorbed by the food itself and not by bacterial toxins that are later produced in the body. They can be found in canned, packaged foods, but also in pickled fruits or vegetables. Evidence of the presence of the pathogen are bloated cans or food packaging. Clostridium botulinum and its toxin are only neutralized by heating at temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius for more than 15 minutes.

Many more causes of food poisoning

In addition, there are a variety of other causes of food poisoning, which occur much less common. Thus, metals such as lead, copper or zinc in food can lead to poisoning. These can accumulate in acidic foods stored in cookware glazed with metallic colors. Since such cookware is hardly used nowadays, this form of food poisoning Rare. The accidental consumption of poisonous mushrooms, which are mistaken for edible mushrooms, leads to poisoning.

Furthermore, fish or shellfish may contain certain poisons that have not been properly removed during food preparation (for example, tedrotoxin in puffer fish). Cereals such as rye may be contaminated with the so-called ergot fungus, which forms toxic ergot alkaloids.

Food Poisoning Treatment

In case of simple Food Poisoning Treatment focuses on compensating for the fluid and electrolyte losses caused by diarrhea and vomiting. It is therefore necessary to take sufficient electrolyte-containing drinks (such as mineral water, optionally with an electrolyte powder from the pharmacy).

In addition, sufferers should eat easily digestible foods such as rusks, pretzel sticks or white bread to regenerate the intestinal lining and activate bowel function. Vomiting and diarrhea are prevented only after careful consideration by the doctor by medication, since both reactions promote the excretion of toxins from the body.

In the case of food poisoning, usually after a period of one to three days, spontaneous improvement or resolution of the symptoms will naturally occur. The body continuously excretes the toxins during this period, especially intensely, by reacting with diarrhea and vomiting.

Since this is associated with high electrolyte and fluid loss, food poisoning focuses primarily on balancing the loss. Sufferers should therefore drink enough. Mineral water and herbal teas are particularly suitable here.

When filling the electrolyte balance during and after food poisoning, electrolytic powders from the pharmacy are also suitable for the Food Poisoning Treatment,as well as home-made solutions: Add to this one liter of water eight level teaspoons of sugar and one level teaspoon of salt.

If the filling of the fluid and electrolyte balance is insufficient – for example because the affected person can not hold the drinks – an infusion via the vein can compensate for the loss.

Even if it is difficult and the appetite is lacking, it should continue to be eaten during Food Poisoning Treatment in order to regenerate the intestinal mucosa, to activate intestinal activity and to absorb nutrients.

For this is easily digestible food such as rusk, pretzel sticks or white bread. Basically, sufferers should eat low-fat and low-protein during the disease. In addition, it is important to abstain from bloating or irritating foods such as raw food, milk and dairy products as well as coffee and alcohol.

In order to alleviate diarrhea and vomiting , those affected by food poisoningcan take appropriate medication for the Food Poisoning Treatment . So-called antiemetics inhibit vomiting. Certain opiates and active ingredients from the group of parasympatholytic regulate the intestinal activity and reduce the diarrhea.

However, the use of such drugs should only be done after careful consideration of risks and benefits, as the active ingredients prevent symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. However, they also ensure that pathogens and toxins remain longer in the body. Their excretion is delayed, so that the disease can last longer.

The use of other drugs in Food Poisoning Treatment only in question, if the disease is severe or life-threatening. In bacterial pathogens of food poisoningthen the administration of antibiotics is necessary, for example, as a result of infection with Salmonella, Listeria or Shigella.

If additional symptoms appear after eating food, such as paralysis or visual, speech and swallowing disorders, it may indicate toxicity with the botulinum toxin. Already on suspicion, the doctor administers an antidote. Depending on the type and intensity of the poisoning intensive care of the affected person may be necessary. However, this happens very rarely.

Home remedies for food poisoning treatment

Food Poisoning Treatment in healthy adults and older children is limited to drinking enough fluid to compensate for fluid and electrolyte losses. For example, a self-made rehydration solution may consist of 1 liter of water, 8 level teaspoons of sugar and 1 level teaspoon of salt.

If the filling of the fluid balance (rehydration) is not successful, an infusion must be made, especially in children, in order to avoid dehydration. The drinking volume should be about 40 ml / kg body weight within 24 hours (ie at a body weight of 75 kg 3 liters per day).

By eating easily digestible foods such as rusks, pretzel sticks or white bread, the regeneration of the damaged intestinal mucosa can be promoted. Food abstinence (abstinence from food) during the diarrhea is not recommended because the intestine so receives no nutrients that he needs to rebuild the intestinal flora. In addition, the intestinal function is shut down by the fasting.

It is recommended to make the diet low in fat and protein. In addition, should be dispensed with flatulent foods, raw foods, dairy and milk products, alcohol, coke and coffee. Furthermore, people should pay particular attention to the quality of their food after a food poisoning, as the intestinal flora is very damaged and takes time to regenerate completely. Thus, the chances of getting food poisoning again are high for people who have just been through one (recurrence).

Vomiting and defecation should not be withheld because it helps to remove bacterial toxins from the body more quickly.

Medication for food poisoning treatment

In order to alleviate the symptoms, medicines can be administered which inhibit vomiting (antiemetics), alter the intestinal activity (opiates such as loperamide) or paralyze (parasympatholytics such as butylscopolamine). Before use, the benefits must be weighed against the risks of the product. 

For example, loperamide has a plugging effect in that the drug inhibits diarrhea by slowing the bowel movement. However, this also delays the excretion of bacteria and their toxins, thus prolonging the disease duration.

Antibiotics for food poisoning treatment

The use of antibiotics with bacterial pathogen detection is to be critically questioned in a large number of cases. Only in very severe cases (more than 10 bowel movements in 24 hours and bloody stool) should a targeted therapy take place. Antibiotics are required at:

  • an infection with Salmonella . However, antibiotic administration can prolong bacterial excretion.
  • Infants and patients with high fever, old or immunocompromised persons.
  • an infection with Campylobacter.
  • an infection with Listeria . This must be treated in any case with antibiotics.
  • Occurrence of neurological symptoms such as impaired sight, swallowing and speech after a meal. In this case, the possibility of botulism poisoning must be considered. Here, an antidote (antitoxin) should already be administered in case of suspicion.
  • Suspected bacterial dysentery (infection with Shigella).

The administration of antibiotics is contraindicated in an infection with Escherichia coli , as the bacteria then increasingly produce toxins.

Probiotics for food poisoning treatment

Scientific studies have come to different conclusions regarding the use of probiotics (living microorganisms added to different foods). The group of bacteria used as probiotics include Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, which are natural colonizers. Probiotics can be taken in freeze-dried form as a powder or tablet as well as an additive in a finished rehydration solution.

Some research shows that the use of probiotics in food poisoning can be recommended. It has been proven that certain probiotic bacteria stimulate the immune system in the intestinal mucosa. Some probiotics produce substances that are similar in their effect to an antibiotic. These can shorten diarrhea time by eight hours to one day.

However, other studies indicate that daily consumption of probiotic foods is necessary to ensure high bacterial counts of the bacteria in question. According to these studies, positive effects can only be achieved by permanently ensuring high numbers of bacteria.

The positive effect of probiotic use in food poisoning is not fully understood.

Food Poisoning Preventation

You can prevent food poisoning by following certain hygiene rules in and around the kitchen and when cooking, and to ensure the proper, careful handling of different foods.

When cooking, wear clean clothes and remove jewelry. Wash hands thoroughly with soap for about 30 seconds before and after preparation – do not forget finger gaps and fingertips – and then rinse with clear water. This is especially true for the processing of raw foods such as eggs, raw meat or poultry.

Do not touch your mouth, nose or hair while cooking. Pets should be kept out of the kitchen when preparing food if possible.

Preventing food poisoning also means preventing so-called cross contamination . This will avoid the potential carryover of toxins or germs from one food to another. Therefore, wash your hands and kitchen utensils thoroughly with water, soap and dishwashing detergent after completing a preparation step before proceeding with the use of other foods. Do not process cooked or otherwise heated food on the same chopping board where you previously prepared raw food.

Also pay attention to the expiry date of your food. This will help prevent food poisoning caused by spoiled food . This is especially true for perishable foods such as eggs, meat or milk. After shopping in the supermarket, it is also important to bring the food home quickly to cool it in the fridge in a timely manner.

For long driving times or summery outside temperatures, it is advisable to “cool down” sensitive food in a cool bag brought before they land in the refrigerator. Frozen foods should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator, as bacteria can easily multiply in dew at normal outdoor temperatures.

After the meal leftover food is immediately stored cool. Before eating later, you should cook the food well and not just warm it up. This too can help prevent food poisoning . Special attention is required when dealing with perishable foods. Therefore, eggs, milk, dairy products and meat should always be stored in the refrigerator. The refrigerator temperature is ideally between one and five degrees Celsius.

Minced meat should be prepared on the same day, as the significantly increased meat surface provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. For various foods, such as mayonnaise or tiramisu, it is best to process fresh, raw eggs and eat the dishes as soon as possible.

The type of storage can also prevent food poisoningor at least reduce their risk. This is why it is important to store perishable foods such as eggs, meat or sausages separately from other foods such as butter, fruit and vegetables. Special care should be taken when preserving with a bulging lid. There is a risk of life-threatening food poisoning by the botulinum toxin, the poison of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

Basically, when buying, preparing and eating food or food: Take a close look at what you have in front of you and in case of doubt better abstain from eating. Always rely on your nose. The smell of a food gives you hints on already spoiled food.

Food Poisoning Treatment
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