The Christmas holidays is a very happy time for families and friends. It’s also that time when someone else is more likely responsible for making your food, or you make food in large amounts for expected guests. The interpretation is, it’s a jolly good time for food poisoning.
What Is Food Poisoning?
It is basically being sick from eating food contaminated by bacteria, parasites, viruses or their toxins. It can start quickly (within 6hours) or may take days to weeks.
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever may be present
What To Do
Food poisoning is usually self-limiting; meaning after some episodes of vomiting & diarrhoea, it may come to an end.
Pregnant women, infants, children and older people or people with the chronic disease may have a hard time coping. They will get more quickly dehydrated and so must be watched carefully.
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1. Dispose off the offending food. Don’t keep eating it.
2. Commence Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) or salt-sugar solution.
3. Watch for signs of dehydration & report to a doctor if it gets worse or persons are unable to drink.
4. Avoid vitamin supplements, sodas, fruit juices, etc., while it lasts. Bananas & fluids are a great idea.
5. Do Not Take Lomotil or other anti-diarrheal agents. Don’t try to stop diarrhoea.
How To Prevent Food Poisoning
Some foods are more prone to poisoning than others. Wet foods spoil faster than dry foods. Keep foods that spoil easily in the fridge. Don’t buy more than you need.
1. Do not use the same cutting board for meat and vegetables or fruits.
2. Defrost meats/foods quickly and at higher heat than room temperature
3. If it smells funny, toss it! Don’t go boiling, salting or washing with vinegar.
4. Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods.
5. After washing/cutting meats, wash up your sink & counter with hot water before throwing in fruits and vegetables.
6. Wash your kitchen utensils with soap & warm water.
How To Know It’s Food Poisoning
1. Almost everyone feels ill at about the same time
2. It will likely end 24-48 hours after it started
3. You may have a lot of vomiting & frequent diarrhoea
4. Abdominal pain is sharp with associated cramps