Is food poisoning an infection? – TheHealthSite

Most of us might have experienced a minor bout of food poisoning after having contaminated food or water. In some cases, food poisoning, if left unattended, it can land you in a hospital. In some cases, eating uncooked and raw food can also up your risk of food poisoning. Unlike popular belief, food poisoning is an infection and not a condition only caused due to eating contaminated food. While bad hygienic practices are one of the causes of food poisoning, in most cases, it is due to a bacterial or viral infection.

Dr Reena Rawat, Senior Ayurvedic expert, Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth says, ‘Yes, food poisoning is an infection resulting from the food spoilage of food contaminated by pathogenic bacteria, viruses or parasites. The microbes not only spoil the food but release harmful chemicals that attack the stomach lining. Moreover, chemical or natural toxins present in the legumes such as amylase inhibitors also contribute in food spoilage.’ In some cases, food intoxication also causes food poisoning due to ingestion of food containing toxins produced by the bacteria present in the food. The common bacteria that can lead to foodborne intoxication include Clostridium botulinum, Bacillus cereus and Clostridium perfringens.

What to do if you suffer from food poisoning?

If you experience any symptoms of food poisoning like abdominal cramps, diarrhoea (in severe cases, blood diarrhoea), vomiting, nausea, fever or malaise (uneasiness) after having food, then consult your doctor immediately. In addition to this, you need to avoid certain foods till the symptoms subside and you start recovering. Our expert Dr Vinita Sharma, Senior Ayurvedic expert, Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth tells you foods you need to avoid.

  • Avoid complex carbohydrates such as whole cereals and raw vegetables as they are not only difficult to digest but raw foods up your risk of infection further worsening the condition. The same rule applies to foods rich in fibre.
  • You should stay away from dairy products because as the body is fighting food poisoning you may experience temporary lactose intolerance. So avoid cheese, milk, paneer and other dairy products.
  • Say no to fried and spicy foods, heavy sauces and preserved food products as it will further hamper the recovery process. Also, avoid foods which have a higher chance of contamination. Click to know!
  • It is wise to restrict outside food for a month or so and prefer eating freshly prepared home cooked food. But also read how home cooked food can lead to food poisoning.
  • The last on the list are alcoholic beverages and soft drinks as these drinks will only worsen the stomach woes and prolong your recovery.

Just like any other disease or condition, prevention is better than cure. As food poisoning is a hygiene related infection, make sure you keep the environment and utensils clean, Wash your hands before and after visiting a washroom. As the risk of infection is high during monsoon, eat warm and fresh foods. Avoid refrigerating and re-heating foods before eating to reduce the risk of bacterial growth. Here are easy steps to prevent food poisoning.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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