Food safety is something that cannot be taken seriously enough as a parent. But for many of us it is something that is "just something you get when you leave foo." Food poisoning is a disease, often infectious, caused by the accidental ingestion of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, parasites) present in the diet.
Symptoms, which can occur several hours to several days after eating contaminated food, vary depending on the agent involved. Listeria and salmonella are the best known.
The main symptoms of this type of intoxication are: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever and headache. In most cases, these symptoms go away on their own within a few days. However, they can have serious consequences in babies, pregnant women, the elderly or the sick.
For minor cases of food poisoning doctors recommend that we drink a lot to avoid dehydration. You can drink water, sodium-rich mineral water, broth and lightly sweetened drinks. In cases that are more acute medical help is recommended.
When I had a case of food poisoning my doctor recommended that I put my digestive system to rest for twenty-four hours, absorbing exclusively liquid foods. The next day I gradually reintroduced unaggressive foods such as rice, ham, cooked vegetables and baked potato. Avoid eating raw vegetables and fruits as well as dairy products.
You may be tempted to take medication to thicken your BM though both diarrhea and vomiting help expel bacteria from the body.
Please note: As a healthy adult if symptoms worsen or you do not get better after 48 hours, see your doctor immediately. On the other hand, consultation should be sought as soon as possible for young children, the sick, and the elderly who may suffer from severe dehydration.
So how do you avoid food poisoning?
Contamination of food with pathogens (e.g. staphylococcus, salmonella, Clostridium botulinum or Escherichia coli) is usually linked to mishandling food, improper preparation and preservation or cooking of food.
In order not to be a victim of food poisoning, you must respect certain hygiene rules and be careful not to "break" them.
The main preventive measures are:
- Control the expiration date for packaged foods
- Clean your refrigerator regularly (every 15 days)
- Pack food well in aluminum foil or cellophane and eat it quickly: within 24 hours for raw products and within two days for cooked meals
- Wash your hands before preparing or eating food
- Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly
- In some foreign countries, do not consume the water (including ice cubes) and raw food washed in dirty water.
Summer is the main season for food poisoning, as the high temperature promotes the development of bacteria (especially in eggs, dairy products, cheeses, cold cuts and meats).
In summer, you have to:
- Use insulated bags and/or coolers at picnics and errands
- Cook meat well on barbecues (chicken and steak should not be undercooked or red)
- Avoid leaving refrigerated food outside the refrigerator
- Regularly monitor the temperature of your refrigerator, which should be at 4 degrees Celsius in the coldest part, and between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius for the other part.
Common sense is one of the main factors required when avoiding botulism.