Posted by Michael Barber, October 06, 2013 (last updated on June 24, 2019)
If you've ever had food poisoning chances are you'll never forget the symptoms. What sort of bacteria causes food poisoning and how can you avoid a horrible digestive onset of vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms?
Food Poisoning Statistics
Dr. Kristie Leong of Yahoo Voices reports 76 million people are treated at walk-in clinics and emergency rooms for food poisoning each year. Still, what bacteria should we know about and what are the symptoms? Below are the four most common types of food bacteria that lead to food poisoning.
With this bacteria, most will experience diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain. For those in high-risk categories like the elderly and those with certain medical conditions or a weak immune system, e-coli can be very dangerous.
E-coli is often the result of eating uncooked hamburger, and unpasteurized juices and milk. Sprouts are also common carriers of e-coli so it's best to cook meats thoroughly and wash vegetables completely before consumption. If your symptoms don't subside within 48 to 72 hours or you are in a high-risk category, seek out retail clinics offering emergency care.
With salmonella, symptoms include fever, abdominal pain and cramping, headache, nausea and vomiting. Common sources of salmonella include undercooked meat including chicken, pork and fish. Many areas in the U.S. are warm enough all year round to indulge in outdoor barbecues. FoodSafe.gov offers a great chart on how longs meats and fish should be cooked to avoid salmonella.
It's best to be prepared and know the urgent care centers in your area so if food poisoning occurs, you can seek out immediate treatment. Salmonella may require antibiotics to rid your body of the bacteria.
Listeria is a very common bacteria says WebMD and can "grow at refrigerator temperatures." It can also "build up in food-processing plants, where it can survive for years." This is one scary bacteria that invades packaged hot dogs, fish, deli meats, soft cheese and produce.
Symptoms of listeria include muscle aches, fever, nausea and diarrhea. If you suspect listeria poisoning, find an urgent care location so you can receive treatment as soon as symptoms begin. While many people will experience no symptoms, others will experience the above and more severe symptoms. If you have severe headaches, a stiff neck, loss of balance or convulsions, you will need immediate medical care.
This is the most common type of food poisoning in the U.S. Symptoms usually include diarrhea that subsides within 24 to 48 hours. You may also experience fever, headache, abdominal cramps, muscle pain and vomiting.
Campylobacter can be serious if symptoms don't cease and can even cause appendicitis. Avoid unpasteurized milk and make sure you cook any type of poultry to 180 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid this bacteria. If your symptoms get worse, visit an urgent care center to receive medical treatment by a professional.
Because food poisoning can be risky or deadly for those in high-risk categories, do your best to avoid food poisoning altogether. Do this by cooking food thoroughly and avoid cross-contamination of meats and vegetables. Always use clean dishes for cooked food and wash your hands often while preparing. Store food in clean containers and a good rule of thumb is to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Above all, if you suspect food poisoning and symptoms don't cease, it's best to seek out immediate medical care.