How Long Does Food Poisoning Last?

This holiday season, it is inevitable to prepare a lot of delicious foods in order to meet the high expectations of hungry visitors during a small get together party. During such occasion, left-over foods are highly expected. These left-over foods are then kept on the fridge for next day consumption. Sometimes, these left over foods gets spoiled and go unnoticed. When consumed, food poisoning is certain. What is food poisoning and how long does food poisoning last?

Statistics reveal that 30% of the population of industrialized countries experience food poisoning. In the United States, about 76 million cases of food poisoning are estimated to occur every year with about 5,000 deaths.

Food poisoning is caused by consumption of contaminated foods. There are two types of food poisoning: infectious agent and toxic agent. Food infection is caused by bacteria or other microorganisms found on the food which causes series of signs and symptoms after consumption whereas food intoxication is caused by the ingestion of toxins produced by toxic microorganisms found on food even if the toxic microorganism is not present anymore. The deadliest food toxic microorganism is the Clostridium botulinum which causes botulism. Its toxin could cause paralysis to human.

Two common cause of food poisoning are the intake of problematic canned goods and eating out. There are canned goods that were not properly prepared in the factory or have defects that spoil the content. When taken in, it sure could cause food poisoning. Another cause is eating out. There are food shops (especially public food vendors) that do not observe proper food handling hygiene which contaminates the food they are serving thus causing food poisoning. It should be noted that homemade foods could also cause food poisoning especially if not prepared and handled well.

Those who take in contaminated foods may experience the following signs and symptoms: abdominal cramps or pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (can be bloody), fever, chills, weakness, ad fatigue. Generally, the course of food poisoning (from intake of contaminated foods to the recovery phase) may take about 2-3 days only. If the above symptoms persist for more than three days, professional intervention should be opted.

Prevention is always better and cheaper than cure so proper food handling should be observed. Frequent hand washing and proper food preparation are advised. Meat, poultry, and sea foods should be proper cooked before consumption to get rid of harmful microorganisms. When taking in canned goods, be sure to check the expiration date and do not consume deformed canned goods because there is a high probability that the contents are spoiled.

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