Food Poisoning - Causes and Experience

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Food Poisoning Causes

More than 250 known diseases can be transmitted through food. The CDC estimates unknown or undiscovered agents cause 68% of all food-borne illnesses and related hospitalizations. Many cases of food poisoning are not reported because people suffer mild symptoms and recover quickly. Also, doctors do not test for a cause in every suspected case because it does not change the treatment or the outcome.

The known causes of food poisoning can be divided into two categories: infectious agents and toxic agents.

  • Infectious agents include viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
  • Toxic agents include poisonous mushrooms, improperly prepared exotic foods (such as barracuda - ciguatera toxin), or pesticides on fruits and vegetables.

Food usually becomes contaminated from poor sanitation or preparation. Food handlers who do not wash their hands after using the bathroom or have infections themselves often cause contamination. Improperly packaged food stored at the wrong temperature also promotes contamination.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: nevreatthatcrapagain, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 12

I ate some Vietnamese soup (called Pho), worse yet I brought it home to my wife and toddlers-thank goodness the toddlers ate very little of it. I had a bowl, as did my wife. One toddler got ill a day after eating this junk, and we got ill 2 days after eating it. One Toddler had vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. All dissipated mostly within a day. The other toddler didn't have a fever, but vomited, and some mild diarrhea. He only ate a couple tablespoons of the stuff (smart kid). My wife and I got it almost simultaneously. We had projectile vomiting and diarrhea. My wife got a fever, (102) and went to the hospital, came back and second night got a fever again, went back to the hospital becauseshe had it bad. I didn't get a fever, but I am home bound for the second day, exhausted and recovering. People who sell crap like this should face criminal charges. Again I'm so grateful our toddlers didn't eat more. Where are all the health inspectors? Seriously places that sell this crap should be closed down before someone becomes seriously ill or worse. Interestingly the doctors told my wife that they see a lot of cases of food poisoning from oriental restaurants.

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Comment from: Ruth, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I ate some barbacoa (lamb meat) and 2 hours later I started vomiting and having diarrhea. I probably had around 20 evacuations both ways and terrible long stomach cramps. I thought about going to the hospital but I couldn't stay away from the bathroom so I noticed that after a few hours the cramps became shorter and more time between each one so it became more bearable. Two days later and my stomach still hurts.

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