How to Treat Food Poisoning: First Aid Treatment

Food poisoning occurs when we eat food contaminated with harmful bacteria. Many of us have experienced the unpleasant effects of food poisoning at some point in our lives. Common bacteria that cause food poisoning include norovirus, E. coli, and campylobacter. Incorrect storage or preparation of food (for example, undercooking meat or not refrigerating food) increases the risk of bacteria contaminating the food. Poor hand hygiene is another cause of contamination, as bacteria are easily transferred from our hands onto the food we touch. Unfortunately, there's no specific first aid treatment for food poisoning. Instead you should try to prevent dehydration and seek medical assistance if the symptoms are not subsiding. Knowing when to seek medical assistance is important; while most mild cases of food poisoning will not cause major problems, children and the elderly are at risk of developing complications from bad cases of food poisoning. Unfortunately, every year there are a number of deaths in the United States from severe food poisoning.

Don't delay in seeking medical assistance if you are worried about a victim with food poisoning.

Signs and Symptoms of Food Poisoning

◾ Diarrhea

◾ Vomiting

◾ Abdominal pain

◾ Loss of appetite

◾ High temperature (fever)

First Aid Treatment for Food Poisoning

1. Encourage the victim to drink fluids to prevent dehydration; commercially available oral rehydration solutions (ORS), which include essential salts and sugar, can be used.

2. Ensure you and the victim perform adequate handwashing to reduce the risk of the infection spreading.

3. Seek medical help if you are concerned that the symptoms are not subsiding or the victim has other medical problems.

Young children and the elderly are most at risk from food poisoning. Severe cases of food poisoning can lead to dehydration and require hospital admission. Seek help early if you are concerned about a victim with food poisoning.

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