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Food Poisoning- Exams, Tests and General Treatment

Introduction

Food is life and the way to get to a man’s heart is through his stomach. These are   ancient and relevant maxims that every human being knows, believes and approves. However, combining such priceless life-preserving commodity with poison sounds like an illegal paradox because poison kills while food preserves life. But in as much as these two do not mix ,food in deed gets poisoned. Based on the above, it is necessary to examine how to detect and treat food poisoning properly because wrong diagnosis leads to wrong treatment which may as well lead to unnecessary casualties.

Definition

It is a medical condition that is caused by eating foods that have been contaminated by harmful organisms. These organisms are:

  • Parasites;
  • Bacteria; and
  • Viruses

These germs are mostly found in raw meat, fish, chicken, and eggs. However, they can also inhabit any other kind of food. It is also possible to contract food poisoning by touching and eating food with dirty hands.

Diagnosis, tests and examinations

When you feel that you need to see a doctor to accurately diagnose and treat you, there are several tests that they will take. All these will be based on the symptoms you manifest, your medical history and a physical exam that needs to be taken. You will need to open up to the doctor what you ate and where you ate it and if any other person who ate the same food shares the same symptoms you have. Afterwards, the doctor will recommend and get one of the following tests done:

ü  stool culture –this is in the event that your doctor suspects that you have eaten contaminated food, your symptoms are severe, or the diagnosis is uncertain.;

ü  Blood tests –these may be conducted to help find out the exact cause of the food poisoning, that is, whether it is caused by bacteria or to rule out other causes such as parasites and viruses. A complete blood count and a chemistry screen can help show whether you are severely ill or you have been dehydrated.

ü  Toxoplasmosis –this kind of test is conducted if you happen to be pregnant or have a compromised immune system e.g. due to diabetes or HIV/AIDS and have been exposed to toxoplasmosis.

When all this is done, your doctor may need to report your condition to the health department. This is done to help the government track the condition and identify possible outbreaks that could affect other people.

Treatment in general

ü  In most cases, the diarrhea and other symptoms of food poisoning disappear within 2 to 3 days, and you may not need treatment. Till then, just manage the symptoms well, especially diarrhea.

ü  Extra precautions should be taken to prevent child dehydration. If it turns severe and can't be managed at home, go to hospital.

ü  Medicines that stop diarrhea (such as Imodium) can help with managing symptoms. However, don’t administer them to children or people with a high fever or bloody diarrhea. Antibiotics should only be used in certain types of food poisoning or in severe cases.

ü  Pregnant women with listeriosis or toxoplasmosis may receive antibiotics.

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Friday, 30 October 2020
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