Foodborne illness, also called food poisoning, is one of the common illnesses that occurs when you eat food or drink water that has been contaminated. This contamination can result from bacterial toxins, fungi, parasites, or viruses; in some types of food poisoning, the toxin or poison is naturally part of the food. It is usually mild for most people but can be severe and even deadly for some individuals.
Food poisoning also occurs when non-infectious poisons like heavy metals (such as mercury or lead) or poisonous mushrooms find their way into people’s stomachs. Symptoms can start within a few hours after ingesting contaminated food, which includes vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea, which should be treated immediately.
Effects of food poisoning on individuals
Statistically, almost everyone will come down with food poisoning at least once. More at risk than others, individuals with a suppressed immune system may have a greater risk of infection and a much greater risk of complications as a result of food poisoning. Pregnant women are more at risk because their bodies are adapting to changes in their circulatory system and metabolism during pregnancy. Elderly individuals also risk contracting food poisoning because their immune systems may not respond speedily to infectious organisms. Children are also considered an at-risk population because their immune systems are not as developed as those of adults. Young children are more easily affected by dehydration caused by diarrhoea and vomiting.
Food susceptible to contamination if improperly handled or poorly stored includes;
- Raw or undercooked eggs
- Raw or undercooked meat
- Unpasteurised milk
- fruits and vegetables
Allergic Reactions to food
Food allergy is usually caused when the immune system responds to a particular food that can threaten the body. The immune system responds by releasing chemicals, which trigger some allergic reactions like:
- swelling of the mouth, throat, face, and other parts of the body
- tingling or itching in the mouth
- difficulty swallowing
- trouble swallowing or speaking
Occasionally, food will always come in contact with some contaminants, which can most likely occur when proper hygiene is not practised before, during, and after food preparation. To prevent food allergies, allergens should be avoided, and It is essential to know what to do in an allergic reaction emergency. Endeavour to meet your doctor for more guidance.