The 411 All You Need To Know About Food Poisoning - Bacteria That Causes It, Symptoms, How To Prevent It 12 Tips For Prevention

Food poisoning is very common, and everyone reading this has likely had it several times, though you may not always connect it to your food since the symptoms can vary greatly. Most of the time when I have had food poisoning, my symptoms were fairly mild; they were limited to a headache and an extra trip to the bathroom. So, if I didn't pay careful attention to all of the changes happening in my body when I eat, I would not have likely ever connected my sicknesses to the food that I ate. 

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Recently however, I had one of my worst bouts of food poisoning. The symptoms were severe, so I felt that I might have to get my stomach pumped. I had everything from knife-like pains going through my stomach, diarrhea that lasted days, to weakness, fatigue, and constant nausea. So my sickness was definitely caused by food poisoning. Plus, the symptoms started only a few hours after my last meal, so the cause was very obvious to me. So today, I want to use my experience to teach you about food poisoning, and to give you some tips to help you avoid it in the future. 

What Causes Food Poisoning?

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Food poisoning is caused by parasites, germs, bacteria, mold, or fungi found in foods and liquids that people or animals eat.

Some bacteria that commonly cause food poisoning are Salmonella, E.coli, Staph, Shigella, Vibrio, Listeria, Botulism, Clostridium, Campylobacter, and Yersinia

When it comes to fungi, you will most likely be exposed to them when you eat vegetables, fruits, and bread such as undercooked mushrooms (a lot of pizza places serve you very undercooked mushrooms, so be wary of this), moldy fruits and vegetables (especially lettuces, and things like kale, spinach, raspberries, blackberries, and apples), as well as pastries like muffins that will grow mold inside of them when kept at room temperature since they are moist.

Fungi and mold can have common food poisoning symptoms, but they can also cause severe health conditions like cancer, asthma episodes/breathing difficulties, liver disease, ringworm, candida, Meningitis, Pneumonia, sinus and eye problems, as well as many other health conditions. 

"Approximately 300 of the estimated 1.5 million fungal species on Earth are known to cause illnesses ranging from allergic reactions to life-threatening invasive infections...Some food-borne illnesses could be due to fungi or their byproducts, such as poisoning by mushrooms or mycotoxins. Some fungi that contaminate or spoil food are known pathogens, such as Alternaria, Aspergillus, Candida, Fusarium, and mucormycetes" (Benedict, K., Chiller, T. M., & Mody, R. K. (2016). Invasive Fungal Infections Acquired from Contaminated Food or Nutritional Supplements: A Review of the Literature. Foodborne pathogens and disease, 13(7), 343–349. doi:10.1089/fpd.2015.2108).

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

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You are all likely familiar with some of the most common food poisoning symptoms, but here is a more extensive list so that you can see how greatly food poisoning symptoms can vary:

  1. Headaches
  2. Stomachache
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Fever
  5. Chill
  6. Major Stomach Bloating & Swelling
  7. Nausea
  8. Throwing Up/Vomiting
  9. Dizziness/Room Seems To Spin
  10. Body Weakness & Extreme Tiredness
  11. Massive Sweating
  12. No Desire To Eat
  13. Frequent Intense Burping
  14. Frequent Farting/Flatulence
  15. Cramps
  16. Fuzzy Cloudy Vision
  17. Feeling Hot and Cold
  18. Lung, Joint, and Heart Pain
  19. Pain In Your Bladder Region After Eating

Food poisoning symptoms can start immediately while you are still eating the food when the bacteria is really bad, or it can start shortly after eating, or hours after you have eaten. So, pay close attention to how your body feels while eating, as well as after eating.

How To Avoid Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is common today since many people like to eat out or their food is prepared by someone else, such as a family member, a friend, or a nurse. Not everyone knows about food safety and it is not forced upon people the way that it should be. So, the best thing that you can do to avoid food poisoning is to protect yourself through preventive methods. 

12 Tips For Avoiding Food Poisoning

Tip 1: Request meat be well-done when ordering in restaurants.

Tip 2: Don't order meat in restaurants that are extremely overly crowded.

When a restaurant is too crowded, chefs are pressured to get the food out as quickly as possible, so there is a very high chance that the food that comes out will be undercooked. Undercooked meats especially can make you sick, so go for vegetables or pasta dishes in overly crowded restaurants; it is safer this way.

Tip 3: If in doubt about the quality of the food, don't order meat, or you can take the meat home to cook it longer. 

Tip 4: Avoid all salads and pork when eating at restaurants.

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Most of the time, restaurants do not know how to properly clean lettuce and raw vegetables, so I never trust salad in restaurants. When it comes to pork, it has to be cooked for many hours in order to be safe to eat. In today's fast world, the focus is on getting as much profit as possible by popping food out as fast as possible to reach more customers quickly, so you should not trust pork in restaurants. 

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Tip 5: Keep a small bottle of silver in your purse or bag for emergencies when you feel sick after eating.

Tip 6: Check the reviews before eating at a new restaurant.

When people have really bad experiences at a restaurant, such as food poisoning, they often mention it in the reviews. When people see things like rats, mice, or roaches in a restaurant, they also tend to mention these in the comments, so always skim the bad reviews for these things to make sure that a restaurant is fit to eat at. 

Tip 7: When cooking meat at home, keep raw meat separate/away from cooked foods. 

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Tip 8: Never touch raw meat with your bare hands. 

Tip 9: Always change your gloves when going from touching raw meats, to raw clean foods like salads and vegetables. 

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Tip 10: Cook meats at home fully for a long time. You don't have to burn the meat, but cook it until it is on the border of being overcooked. 

Tip 11: Avoid beers on tap. 

During the summer, flies and gnats are a problem. They get into restaurants when the door opens each time someone comes into the restaurant. So it is an easy thing for these small insects to crawl into the hole in the tap that the beer comes out of since it is uncovered all the time. Thus, beer on tap is an easy source of water-borne illness. 

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Furthermore, if a restaurant has roaches, they may crawl into the tap as well, which can make you deathly ill. So as a general rule, beer on tap may be very cheap, but this cheapness can come with a deadly cost, so I recommend avoiding it. 

Tip 12: Boost your immune system so that when food poisoning occurs, your body is better able to deal with it. 

Food poisoning can kill you, so you want your body to be as strong as possible so that you experience the symptoms as mildly as possible, and you are able to live through the experience. 

"CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases" ("Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States", CDC). 

When was the last time you had food poisoning?

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