Food poisoning is a foodborne syndrome that results from the intake of contaminated foods. It is a common illness that often results from the consumption of food and drinks that are contaminated by bacteria toxins, parasites, and viruses and can also result from ingestion of noninfectious poisons and heavy metals. While most cases of food poisoning are often mild, food poisoning may damage the nervous system or cause death in severe cases. This is especially so among people with immunity deficiency, individuals suffering from chronic medical conditions, young children, and the elderly.
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Food poisoning occurs when an individual ingests food or water that has been contaminated by invisible toxins. Symptoms may appear immediately or within the 48 hours after the intake of contaminated food with the subject showing symptoms of nausea and vomiting, abdominal pains, and diarrhea (USA Today 1). Depending on the contaminant, the victim may exhibit symptoms such as fluctuating body temperature, bloody stool, and dehydration which in severe cases may result in further health complications.
Food poisoning may occur at any point during the growing and harvesting of food, but contamination of food often takes place during the process of preparation and intake of food (USA Today 1). In other cases, parasites may be transferred directly from other sources to the food hence causing food poisoning to individuals. The process of food poisoning varies according to the victim and the contaminant with some taking a long time to heal than others. For instance, food poisoning resulting from salmonella bacteria infection may result in flu-like symptoms that last for as long as a week (USA Today 1).
Food poisoning caused by Botulism is more acute and causes the victim to display symptoms such as blurring vision, vomiting, and abdominal pain within 18 to 48 hours after infection (USA Today 1). This toxin paralyzes the victim’s nervous system which leads to loss of muscle control, especially in the face and neck muscles. The victim experiences difficulties while swallowing food which often leads to choking.
This type of food poisoning may result in lung infection and often results in the death of the victim if the situation is not diagnosed and treated in time (USA Today 1). Staphylococcal food poisoning, on the other hand, is characterized by abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting which appears approximately six hours after ingesting the contaminated food, and it’s not as severe as Botulism caused food poisoning.
Despite the presence of varying types of food poisoning, almost all forms of food poisoning result in nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, and diarrhea with symptoms of fever and headache often being observed among most of the victims. Patients experiencing such mild symptoms often seek supportive care from their homes through intake of clear liquids to prevent dehydration and consumption of bland diets to provide them with energy (USA Today 1). However, if the symptoms persist for several days or the victim experiences severe symptoms such as vomiting blood, breathing problems, or prolonged abdominal pains, patients should visit a health practitioner.
In the article, which is featured in USA Today, the writer provides coverage of the causes of food poisoning which range from bacteria contamination to poor food storage and handling practices, the causes and risk factors of food poisoning, as well as its treatment. The article further emphasizes the adverse effects of food poisoning by providing statistics from the United Stated where one out of every five citizens suffers food poisoning every year leading to over nine thousand deaths. Thus, the article helps readers to understand the seriousness of food poisoning which in turn helps them to implement measures aimed at avoiding it.
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The writer differentiates between various types of food poisoning and their effects on the subjects. These types are grouped depending on the contaminant and the writer further describes the symptoms associated with each type of food poisoning. In the article, the symptoms of food poisoning caused by salmonella, botulism as well as staphylococcal food poisoning are clearly outlined. The readers are therefore able to assess the type of food poisoning that they may be suffering from which is essential for promoting home-based care of food poisoning victims. By further highlighting the causes of food poisoning, the writer provides us with the necessary knowledge through which we can significantly reduce the incidences of food poisoning in daily life.
However, the writer provides a shallow definition of food poisoning by describing it as an acute syndrome characterized by nausea, abdominal pains, vomiting, and or diarrhea (USA Today 1). The symptoms may vary depending on the type of food poisoning and the health condition of the victim which makes such a generalized definition of food poisoning less valid. In addition, the article does not cover the problem of food poisoning comprehensively since it does not provide the medical explanation of the syndrome and it fails to acknowledge food poisoning caused by noninfectious poisoning such as ingestion of poisonous mushrooms.
USA Today. “Health Encyclopedia – Diseases and Conditions.” The Health Central Network, Inc, 2010. Web.