FOOD POISONING AND EFFECTS
Written by: Xolisani Khumalo
With the holidays just around the corner, many people are planning picnicks and braais. However, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting will not be on holiday. These are commonly associated with food poisoning and doctors advise people to be vigilant of their eating plan.
Dr Simphiwe Khumalo, a health professional explains the most common causes of food poisoning to be contaminants like bacterial, viral and parasitic agents.
“Contamination of food by these agents or cross-contamination which is a transfer of harmful organism from one surface to another is often the cause,” said Dr Khumalo.
This occurs most commonly when meat is undercooked or when commercial foods are canned improperly and when dairy products are left unrefrigerated for too long.
With summer holidays just a few weeks away, the feasibility of food poisoning increases. Dr Khumalo advises to keep food away from the heat as that too could very well be a cause for food posining. Heat is not suitable, especially for meat and salads which happen to be the most consumed type of foods during this time of year.
The signs and symptoms of food poisoning according to Dr Khumalo are adbominal cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting which should not last for more than two-three days.
“There’s a high prevalence of food poisoning,” Khumalo added.
Dietitian, Phumelele Mthembu explains that while most sicknesses caused by food poisoning can resolve or cure within two to three days, some are very dangerous as they could cause kidney and blood disorders.
“Should any of the symptoms last more than three days, I’d advise those individuals to seek medical attention,” said Mthembu.
Khumalo elaborated on the examples of foods that are likely to cause food poisoning.
“Some of the examples of foods which can cause food poisoning include unpasteurised milk, shellfish from contaminated water, beef or lamb contaminated with feeces during slaughter, and seafood,” explained Khumalo.
Khumalo said that like any other bacterial infection, food poisoning is preventable through the washing of hands.
“I would advise people to eat a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, more of white meet and less red meet .All of this has to be taken in moderation. With regards to raw foods people should make sure that they properly wash raw foods before consuming it, this is because they are not cooked therefore harmful organisms aren’t destroyed before eating,” said Khumalo.
She further added that people are to drink more water and keep moving.
Dr Khumalo shared with us who is likely to be affected by food poisoning.
“Food poisoning usually affects people who are immunocompromised like infants, young children, older adults, pregnant women and patients with chronic diseases such as HIV and diabetes,” Khumalo.
Health experts advise people to drink water, which makes it a summer essential and above all a life essential.