It is estimated that 4.1 million Australians get food poisoning each year. That is almost one quarter of us – here is everything you need to know and how to avoid it!
Food poisoning, although common, often can be prevented easily. An estimated 85% of food-poisoning incidents can be prevented by handling and preparing food properly. Usually, symptoms subside within a day or two. However, in some cases, food poisoning is quite dangerous.
Symptoms of food poisoning include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- General weakness
- Abdominal pain/cramping
Information about the length of time between eating the food and the beginning of symptoms can help in diagnosing the problem:
- Less than six hours suggests that the infection was caused by a type of bacterium that creates a toxin in the food before it was eaten (such as staphylococcus)
- Twelve hours or more suggests the infection was caused by a type of bacterium that makes a toxin after the food is eaten (such as certain types of E. coli), or a bacterium, virus or parasite that can damage the cells lining the intestine (such as salmonella)
Expected Duration – In general, food poisoning goes away in one to three days, although some types of food poisoning may last much longer.
To prevent food poisoning, select safe foods. Take the following steps:
- Examine foods carefully. Buy foods before their expiration date, make certain that cans of food are not dented or bulging, and make sure that jars of food are sealed tightly.
- Be particularly cautious when buying shellfish, dairy products and eggs.
- Buy foods only from reliable sources. Avoid street vendors and roadside markets.
- Avoid foods that contain raw eggs, such as mayonnaise.
- Do not eat mushrooms, including wild ones, unless sold by a reliable source.