March 18-24 is National Poison Prevention Week—a time to help prevent and treat poisonings of all kinds, including food, medications and household items.
Food poisoning is the leader in poisonings. According to the CDC, approximately 48 million people will suffer from some bout of food poisoning each year, and of those affected, 128,00 will be hospitalized; these numbers are also just the ones being reported.
Unfortunately, however, there are an overwhelming number of people that have suffered from acute cases of food poisoning who are left with long term effects, lasting possibly a lifetime. The biggest challenge is that it can be very difficult to trace back any of the subsequent health conditions to a food poisoning event.
The causes and long-term effects from food poisoning are vast. Salmonella poisoning, if a severe enough strain of the E. coli virus, can cause prolonged physical effects.
These adverse effects are several in nature, and can include:
- eye damage and irritation of the eyes
- ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance
- kidney failure or diabetes
- Reactive Arthritis that causes joint pain and swelling
- Urinary tract problems or painful urination
- Chronic arthritis
- Brain and nerve damage
- High blood pressure with an increase in suffering from a stroke
In fact, the Listeria bacteria, can cause life-threatening infection that can lead to meningitis; if a newborn is infected, severe side effects can result in mental retardation, seizures, paralysis, blindness, or deafness.
Ways to prevent food poisoning:
- Always wash had before and after touching raw meat.
- Clean dishes/utensils that have had contact with raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs.
- Use thermometer and cook meats to a safe temperature.
- DO NOT place cooked food onto an unwashed plate that held the raw food
- Refrigerate perishable food or leftovers within 2 hours.
- DO NOT consume foods that have broken seal, bulging or dented cans
- DO NOT consume foods that have an unusual odor or spoiled taste.
- Only drink treated or chlorinated water.
And most importantly, if you think you have food poisoning, make sure you see a doctor!
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