Have you experienced food poisoning?

What causes food poisoning? Why is it easy to develop chicken food poisoning? Should you report a case of food poisoning? Can you prevent food poisoning?

These are some of the many questions people ask about food poisoning, the answers to which can be found in this guide.

This guide is arranged as follows:

Informative and helpful look at food poisoning

This comprehensive guide to food poisoning contains plenty of useful information about food poisoning. Food poisoning is a wide ranging subject to deal with but we hope that the information presented in this guide will answer any questions you might have.

It is designed to educate you further about the causes of food poisoning; what types of foods are considered a high risk for food poisoning, e.g. chicken; treatment available for food poisoning and ways of preventing food poisoning.

Our aim is to provide you with enough information so that you and your family do not become another food poisoning statistic. The information contained on this site is here to advise and guide you about food poisoning: and what steps you can take to prevent you from developing this unpleasant disease.

Help to reduce your risk of food poisoning

Many people have experienced food poisoning for themselves and know what a debilitating illness it can be. In most situations it can be treated at home although more serious cases will require hospital treatment.

However, food poisoning can lead to serious even life threatening diseases.

Thankfully, these tend to be rare but they do happen. In response to this it is advisable to look at ways of reducing your risk of food poisoning and any possible complications.

A guide for everyone about food poisoning

Food poisoning is no respecter of age, gender, ethnicity or background. Young children can get food poisoning as well as adults; elderly people are at risk as are pregnant women and teenagers.

Food poisoning does not discriminate.

This is why it is important for all of us to be aware of the risks of food poisoning and preferably, look at prevention rather than cure.

However, it is fair to say that there are certain groups of people who are at greater risk of getting food poisoning than others. These include the very young and old as well as those who have an illness or a condition which has compromised their immune system.

If you fall into any of these groups then visit our section high risk for food poisoning which discusses this in further detail. This will not only make you aware of this risk but will also provide you with enough information to find ways of preventing this if possible.

High risk foods

This also includes a look at the types of foods which are likely to cause food poisoning. These foods do not cause any problems if prepared correctly but a failure to do so or cross-contamination with other foods will lead to food poisoning.

Find out more in our foods which are likely to cause food poisoning section.

More than one type of food poisoning

Many people assume that there is one type food poisoning but in fact there are several types which are caused by bacteria, viruses, toxins and parasites.

Most cases of food poisoning are caused by bacteria. This is due to the fact that it is easy for them to enter the food chain and with the right conditions, can thrive and multiply. This leads to those all too familiar symptoms of food poisoning such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pains.

Viruses, toxins and parasites are responsible for a lesser number of cases.

But let’s not forget that certain foods such as chicken, beef, pork and fish are also known to cause food poisoning. In particular, chicken and other forms of poultry are known for campylobacter and salmonella food poisoning which are the two most common causes.

Find out more in our types of food poisoning section.

Do you have food poisoning?

The causes and symptoms of food poisoning are discussed as are the methods of diagnosis. It is possible for you to diagnose this yourself, however, there is a condition called gastroenteritis whose symptoms are very similar to those of food poisoning.

We discuss both of these conditions in turn and compare the two so that you are able to distinguish between them. This will make it easier to determine which of the two conditions you have.

Visit our food poisoning or gastroenteritis section.

We recommend that you seek medical advice if you are at all unsure.

Food poisoning after eating out

Many people experience food poisoning at home but a significant number become ill after eating out. It is not uncommon to hear of cases where people have contracted food poisoning after eating at a restaurant or a social occasion such as a wedding.

If you develop food poisoning after a social event, e.g. a meal at a restaurant then you may be thinking about reporting it. Report it to your local environmental health department via your local authority.

For more information visit our reporting food poisoning section.

This type of food poisoning is difficult to prevent but you can prevent food poisoning from happening at home by adopting a few food safety measures. These include cooking food at the correct temperature, washing your hands every time you handle raw food, e.g. meat and storing foods at the right temperature.

This and other advice can be found in our preventing food poisoning section.

Effects of food poisoning on different groups of people

Adults are usually most affected by food poisoning but no-one is exempt. Pregnant women, toddlers, teenagers and older people can get food poisoning and in some cases, are at greater risk of complications.

One example is food poisoning caused by a virus, e.g. rotavirus, which affects children more than adults. The main reason for this is that adults have built up immunity to this virus whereas children are still susceptible.

Find out more in our children and food poisoning section.

Plus visit any of the sections on food poisoning which is aimed at the following groups of people:

  • Pregnant women
  • Babies
  • Children
  • Teenagers
  • The elderly

The final sections of the guide contain a set of FAQs and a glossary of medical terms.

Learn more about food poisoning

Food Poisoning Guide

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