Food poisoning

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is the condition caused by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with bacteria, parasites, viruses, toxins or toxic chemicals.

What are the causes?

Viruses are the most common cause of food poisoning in Bulgaria, according to data from the Ministry of Health, followed by bacteria.

Some toxins can also cause food poisoning and may be released by certain types of bacteria.

In very rare cases, certain types of plants or fish can also cause toxic food poisoning when ingested.

What are the symptoms of food poisoning?

The symptoms of food poisoning are usually nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. But the affected person’s condition may worsen and blood may appear in the stool and he may become dehydrated.

Symptoms of food poisoning often depend on which organ or system is affected.

For example, the human nervous system can be affected by poisoning with neurotoxins such as pesticides and botulinum toxin. Other accompanying symptoms may be:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea with blood in the stool.
  • Dehydration and swelling on the abdomen
  • Liver and kidney problems. As these symptoms are a sign of a more serious illness.

Treatment of food poisoning

The treatment of food poisoning, if there are no other complications, consists of taking more fluids to prevent dehydration, especially when the sick are elderly, small children or babies.

In some cases, patients use medication to reduce symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, but this is usually not recommended.

Taking medications such as loperamide is undesirable, as this medication suppresses intestinal peristalsis and its intake can lead to constipation.

But if you still decide to use it, it is best to consult your personal doctor first.

Antibiotics are not usually used to treat food poisoning caused by viral or bacterial pathogens, but in rare cases they may be needed.

Home treatment

If the food poisoning is not severe and the cause is bacteria or viruses, you are able to help yourself at home.

Your main goal is to prevent dehydration. You need to take in enough water and electrolyte solutions to replace the fluids and electrolytes lost from your body due to diarrhea and vomiting.

This is enough to prevent dehydration. Also, complete rest, no work, school or physical exertion is recommended so that your immune system can destroy the virus or bacteria.

In rare cases of extremely severe food poisoning, it is necessary to carry out the treatment in a hospital under the supervision of a specialist.

How to protect yourself from food poisoning?

To ensure your own health and safety, it is extremely important to protect yourself from food poisoning.

This requires attention to some key practices and hygiene habits that we should follow in our daily lives.

By maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in the kitchen and when preparing food, we can reduce the risk of infections and unwanted health consequences.

The way in which food is prepared, processed and stored is of great importance. The beginning of this process is related to frequent hand washing before touching food or utensils.

Hands are carriers of bacteria and microorganisms that can be transferred to food and cause infections.

In addition, regular cleaning of the work surfaces, tables and kitchen tools we use is recommended. This way we will reduce the risk of cross-contamination – transfer of bacteria from one product to another.

Fruits and vegetables that are eaten raw should also be thoroughly washed under running water.

This will remove surface dirt and particles that may have been in contact with the ground or other potentially contaminated surfaces.

Taking care of the storage of ready-to-eat food and raw ingredients is also key.

We must use separate utensils and tools for raw and prepared food to avoid possible cross-contamination.

It’s not enough to just wash hands and surfaces – it’s important to use different cutting boards and knives for raw meat and prepared foods to prevent the spread of bacteria.

When preparing meat, especially poultry and fish, it is extremely important to cook these products to the correct temperature.

The heat treatment destroys harmful microorganisms and reduces the risk of infections. It is important to use a food thermometer to make sure the meat is done properly.

All of these practices are part of the basic steps to prevent food poisoning.

However, it is important to be informed about specific food safety requirements and to follow the advice of health organizations and food safety professionals.

By combining proper hygiene with a responsible attitude to food, we can enjoy delicious and safe food, protecting ourselves and our loved ones from unwanted health problems.

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