Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling - What Happens
You may become ill with
food poisoning after you eat food that contains
bacteria, viruses, or other harmful organisms. Most cases of food poisoning
follow the same general course.
After you eat a contaminated
food, there is an hours-to-days delay before you notice symptoms. The
contaminating organism passes through the stomach into the intestine , attaches
intestinal walls, and begins to multiply. Some
organisms stay in the intestine. Some produce a toxin that is absorbed into the
bloodstream. And others directly invade body tissues. Your symptoms depend
greatly on the type of organism that has infected you.
organisms cause similar symptoms, especially diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach
cramps. Diarrhea and vomiting are a normal response as the body tries to rid
itself of harmful organisms. Unless the illness is part of a recognized
outbreak, it's difficult to identify the infecting organism. Lab
tests usually aren't done.
In most cases, you recover in a few
days to a week as toxins are flushed from your system. You may feel weak for
several days after other symptoms go away.
Most of the time, food
poisoning is mild and passes in a few days. But the symptoms and course of some
types of food poisoning may be more severe. To learn more, see Symptoms for a list of specific organisms.
In rare cases, food poisoning can result in kidney or joint