Food poisoning learn how to prevent them

An improper conservation or improper handling can contaminate food and cause food poisoning to those who consume it. You know your symptoms and how you can prevent them.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning It can affect one person, but it's easy to appear in the form of an outbreak that affects a group of people who consumed the same contaminated food. Often, food is contaminated because of improper handling of the same, what can happen during the manufacturing process, but also as it prepares and cooks at home, or in hospitality venues such as bars or restaurants.
This type of poisoning often occur during the holidays, excursions to the countryside or to the beach, in the cafeterias of the schools and, in general, during the celebration of great social events, since they are situations in which can be leaving foods unrefrigerated for long periods, or in the preparation of these techniques not saved proper hygiene. These poisonings often occur by eating uncooked meat, dairy products and foods containing mayonnaise, or sauces, and eggs, which have remained in the open air for a long time.
Children and elderly people are at increased risk of intoxication by food. Also those who suffer from a medical condition serious, such as kidney disease or diabetes, or have immune system weakened, or in the case that travellers to areas where there is more exposure present high risk to the organisms that cause such intoxication. It is also necessary to take precautions in the case of pregnant women and infants.

Types, causes and symptoms of food poisoning

Types of food poisoning

In the field of food microbiology, they called in the joint food poisoning (, intoxications and infections together). They are described as diseases caused by pathogens, occurring shortly after consuming a food or drink not fit for consumption.
The origin of the picture may be the ingestion of food contaminated with microorganisms that multiply and give rise to disease (infection), the consumption of food contaminated by toxins that have been produced by a proliferation of microorganisms in the substrate (intoxication), or a combination of both (toxiinfección).

Causes of food poisoning

Food poisoning can be caused, among others, by:
· Staphylococcus aureus
· E coli (enteritis)
· Salmonella
· Shigella
· Campylobacter
· Clostridium botulinum (botulism)
· Vibrio cholerae (cholera)
· Fungi
· Listeria
· Bacillus cereus
· Simple Anisakis
· Yersinia

General symptoms of food poisoning

The incubation periods are different in each case of food poisoning. Some causes cause the appearance of symptoms in less than 30 minutes or several hours, but in the majority of cases are 12-48 hours. Other types may take between several days and a week to present symptoms.
Usually symptoms remains within three days, but it may last up to a week, depending on the type of microorganism, the severity of the infection, and the general State of the patient's health. Most recover in within a week.
The general symptoms of food poisoning can be, among others:
· Vague abdominal discomfort, or abdominal pain.
· Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
· Loss of appetite and weight loss.

The most common food poisoning

There are many diseases caused by the consumption of food, but all of them produced by Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli and Clostridium botulinum are the most important. The first four, by its frequency, and the last, by the severity of the disease causing: botulism.
Salmonella is one of the disease that occur more frequently during the summer season, and one of the most important in the world; It is caused in most cases by the bacterium Salmonella enteritidis. When taking one sufficient quantity of the bacteria (which will depend on the type of salmonella and the virulence of the strain, health status and the resistance of the person concerned, or of the number of microorganisms in contaminated food), reproduces in the body, causing an infection that is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or fever; It's called syndrome gastroenteric fever, whose symptoms appear a few hours after ingestion, and that it often requires that the patient be hospitalized. Diarrhea has an emerald green, since bile acids are not metabolized.
Botulism is an intoxication caused by botulinum toxin, which is a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Human botulism is a serious illness, though it's rare. Bacteria is frequently found on Earth and non-potable water, in the form of heat-resistant spores, which are able to survive in poorly preserved foods generating the toxin. The disease presents with an incubation period of 18-36 hours, depending on the amount of toxin ingested. Begins with gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea...) without fever, later presented neurological symptoms, motor weakness in the extremities and respiratory muscles and, finally, paralysis and death. The incidence of botulism is low, but its mortality rate is high if an immediate and appropriate treatment is not applied since the disease can be deadly between 5 and 10% of cases.
Enteritis e. coli.
It is an inflammation of the small intestine caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli. Other alternative names that are used are the traveler's diarrhea, diarrhea by e. coli, and hamburger disease. Enteritis is a type of bacterial gastroenteritis, which is normally caused by ingesting substances that contain bacteria or viruses, which are set in the small intestine and inflamed, causing a series of characteristic symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever, with consequent dehydration. The incubation period (the time requiring germ to cause disease) is 24-72 hours. In adults, the infection is not usually serious, but in children and babies, hospitalization is usually required and in some cases can be life threatening.
The incidence of food poisoning in developed countries, contrary to what one might think, has increased, as a result of the adoption of a few habits that favour the emergence of such conditions. A very common example is the tendency to eat prepared foods. If there is any contamination during the preparation of these dishes, it will affect a large number of people. On the other hand, consumers demand that these prepared foods contain few additives, which are substances that could prevent the presence of microorganisms in the food in an effective way. The frequency with which are made meals away from home, along with the consumption of meat and undercooked fish, raise the prevalence of the food poisoning. Most are characterized by the appearance of gastrointestinal symptoms, of greater or lesser severity, which rarely cause death, except in high risk groups, such as pregnant women, children, the elderly and anyone with a suppressed immune system.

Prevention of food poisoning

In most cases is in our hands to prevent food poisoning. According to the World Health Organization, the population must take into account five keys to ensure the safety of the food going to consume:

Take extra hygiene

· Wash hands before and during food preparation.
· Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
· Clean and disinfect all surfaces and utensils used in the preparation of food.
· Protect food (store them in sealed containers) and the area of the kitchen against insects, pets and other animals.

Separate raw foods from the cooked

· Always separate raw foods already cooked foods and ready to eat, keeping them in different containers, to prevent contact between them.
· Use surfaces and utensils other, as knives and cutting boards (non-recommended the wood), to prepare meat, chicken, fish and other raw foods.

Fully cooked food

· Fully cooked food, especially meat, chicken, eggs and fish.
· Boiling soups and stews to ensure that reach up to 70 ° C. In red meat and chicken, you must check that the juices are not pink, but Brown.
· Recalientar out the cooked food.

Keep food at appropriate temperatures

· Do not allow cooked foods to remain at room temperature for more than 1 hour.
· Refrigerate cooked foods and the perishable as soon as possible (preferably below 5 ° C).
· Do not store food for a long time, not even in the freezer. Do not save the food for children ready to eat.
· Do not defrost food at room temperature.
What should I do with frozen foods?
· Fruit and vegetables can be cooked without defrosting. On the other hand, is should defrost completely meat, poultry and fish before cooking.
· Defrosting should be always used in the refrigerator at 4 ° C. Once defrosted product, it should never be refrozen, and it must be cooked quickly.
Why should you do?
· At 4 ° C defrosting prevents microorganisms that may contain the frozen product to multiply. At room temperature, they could proliferate and reach a number that would be dangerous for the health.
· During the defrosting process product moisture, increases which may facilitate the development of microorganisms.
· If the pieces of meat or fish are not completely thawed, cooking, in the Centre of the product temperature, could not reach 70 ° C needed to destroy the microorganisms that can stay in the same.

Use safe food and water

· Always use potable water to cook.
· Select fresh foods.
· Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw.
· Do not use food after expiration or preferred consumption date.
Article contributed for educational purposes
Health and Wellness