Food Poisoning : Causes, Symptoms and Remedies

Food poisoning is a very common condition. It is usually not very serious, but some food poisoning can have serious and even fatal consequences for some people.

Food poisoning most commonly occurs after consuming food or water containing bacteria, bacterial toxins (substances secreted by bacteria, parasites, or viruses. It can also occur when non-infectious poisons (such as poisonous fungi) or heavy metals (such as lead or mercury) are ingested.



In the case of food poisoning, it is most often gastrointestinal symptomatology :

  • Stomach aches;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Fatigue.

Note: in general, food poisoning affects several people who have shared the same meal.


food poisoning symptoms
food poisoning symptoms



Food poisoning occurs as a result of ingesting water or food contaminated with microorganisms. Contamination can take place at any stage of the food process – whether it is during the growing, harvesting, processing, storage, or preparation stages. In the majority of cases, bacteria, viruses, or parasites are transmitted to food from other sources, which make these organisms the most common causes of food poisoning. However, in some less common types of food poisoning, the poison or toxin is a natural part of the food (e.g., poisonous mushrooms or poisonous fish). Among the uncommon causes are also seafood and insecticides.


The bacteria and bacterial toxins:

Many bacteria can cause food poisoning, either directly or through the toxins they produce. Among the most common are Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Shigella, Staphylococcus, Campylobacter, and Clostridium perfringens. A lot of food poisoning of bacterial origin is due to contaminated water and insufficient cooking of meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, processed meat, fish, creams of cream pies.


The viruses and parasites:

Norovirus, and many other viruses, can cause food poisoning, often attributed to agricultural and marine products that have been in contact with contaminated water and eaten raw or undercooked.

Parasites like giardia can also cause food poisoning when they are present in fruits and vegetables and water.


The poisonous and inedible mushrooms: 

Dozens of species can cause poisoning by muscarine. Their poison attacks the central nervous system and causes partial or total paralysis in severe cases.

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The fish:

Some fish, such as pufferfish, are naturally toxic flesh. A poison similar to that produced by pufferfish is also found in many edible species of the Caribbean and the Pacific. They can cause ciguatera poisoning if they have ingested a microscopic marine parasite called a dinoflagellate. This organism produces a toxic substance that attacks the nervous system.

Another kind of poisoning by fish and called scombroid poisoning results from high levels of histamine, which is toxic to humans. Fish flesh with toxic levels of histamine often has an unusually bitter or peppery taste.


stale or junk food
stale or junk food


The seafood: 

clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops ingesting certain dinoflagellates that produce saxitoxin neurotoxin can cause poisoning. In North America, this secretion is more likely to take place between the months of June and October. The seafood eaten during these months is likely to be dangerous for health.


The insecticides:

There are many types of poisons in pesticides, but the most dangerous are those made of organophosphates which actually nerve gas for insects. Such insecticides are deliberately formulated so as to be less harmful to humans than to insects, but these chemicals can be very dangerous to humans if the insecticides are not used properly.

There are many other agents that cause food poisoning. These include nuts, leaves, wildflowers and berries, tubers that are not yet ripe, botulism toxin, cadmium from containers, lead or arsenic in fertilizers, pottery acids, and lead.


upset stomach food poisoning
upset stomach food poisoning




The disease is generally transient and does not require specific Food poisoning treatment. But it is important to hydrate: if the ingested water is systematically regurgitated, the patient must go to the hospital to be rehydrated intravenously. Let’s see foods to eat and avoid when you develop food poisoning.

The best foods and drinks to eat after food poisoning

When a person reintroduces food after a period of food poisoning, the goal is to eat foods that are easy to digest. This can mean following a diet for a sick stomach known as the BRAT diet.

BRAT means:

The BRAT diet is one of the primary dietary recommendations for recovery from gastrointestinal disease.

People suggest that this diet is ideal for helping a person recover because the four foods are bland and starchy. As a result, they reduce the incidence of diarrhea by binding stools together.

Although research lacks to confirm the BRAT diet’s effectiveness, some research shows that green bananas and rice benefit children with diarrhea.

The banana is high in potassium, which can help replace lost electrolytes.


heartburn or chest pain
heartburn or chest pain


Other foods to try include:

  • Fermented foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut
  • Clear broths, especially bone broths
  • Low-sugar oatmeal
  • Simple potatoes
  • Salty crackers
  • Skinless baked chicken
  • Turkey
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These foods are good to eat due to their scarcity, starch, and nutritional content. 

Once a person can keep these mild foods low, they should be able to return to their regular diet within 24-48 hours of being able to tolerate their food intake.



Studies have shown that people can prevent and treat food poisoning with foods and supplements that contain healthy probiotics and bacteria.

Foods high in probiotics include certain dairy products such as yogurt and kefir and fermented foods such as sauerkraut.


loose motions
loose motions

Foods to Avoid

Food poisoning often irritates the stomach and intestines which causes inflammation. As a result, after food poisoning, people may choose to eat foods that do not over-stimulate the stomach and are not likely to cause stomach upset.

Examples of foods to avoid are:

  • Dairy products like cheese, ice cream and yogurt that can upset the stomach after food poisoning
  • Fried foods( for example, fried chicken, French fries, and other high-fat foods can cause rapid stomach emptying and worsening of diarrhea-related symptoms.
  • The spicy foods that people prepare with hot peppers can irritate the stomach and cause stomach upset.
  • Foods that cause bloating


unhealthy cholesterol levels
unhealthy cholesterol levels


Food poisoning is an unpleasant condition that will ideally improve after a few days. A person can begin reintroducing bland foods and hydrating drinks to reduce symptoms and help them feel stronger after being sick.

However, if people experience symptoms of dehydration or blood in their stool or vomit, they should see a doctor. A doctor can recommend additional Food poisoning treatment that can help them feel better and overcome their food poisoning.



Who is prone to food poisoning?

The answer is everyone. Food poisoning can affect anyone, and age, gender, etc., are no exception.


Is food poisoning worse than others?

Food poisoning varies from person to person. Some people have only moderate symptoms, while others have more severe symptoms.

Most food poisoning can be cured in a few days, but if the symptoms are severe, it may take longer.

There is also the fact that some people are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning.


Are there complications of food poisoning?

These complications of food poisoning tend to be rare, but they do happen. They pose a particular risk to those who are quite vulnerable to food poisonings, such as infants and the elderly.

One such complication is dehydration, but there are some chronic diseases that can occur as a result of food poisoning. These examples include hemolytic uremic syndrome and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

food poisoning treatment
food poisoning treatment

What is the risk of food poisoning in children?

Children are at greater risk due to the fact that the immune system is less effective than adults in fighting disease and infectious diseases.

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There is also the fact that children, especially young children, do not worry about food safety and hygiene issues. They drop food on the floor and eat it right away or make a poor choice of food.

Children are one of the high-risk groups for Food poisoning.


Why are older people more susceptible to food poisoning?

Older people, such as the elderly, are more likely to develop food poisoning for several reasons.

One of them is that they often tend to leave food until the expiration date to save money, but they are not always conscious that it is ill-considered to do so.

Another reason is that many older people are in a prolonged state, weakening their immune systems and putting them at risk of infections such as food poisoning.

Elderly people can take medications such as steroids and antibiotics to reduce the immune system against the disease or illness.


How common is food poisoning?

There are more than 90,000 cases (per day) of food poisoning in India. It should be noted, however, that these are reported cases.

Therefore, this number may be higher as not all people who develop food poisoning report it. Some people develop mild symptoms and decide to develop the disease instead of seeing their doctor. In that case, it remains an unreported case. If you get food poisoning due to food you eat at a restaurant or fast-food restaurant, report it. This makes it possible to examine and treat the source of infection to prevent further outbreaks.

Nancy Kapoor
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