Food Poisoning Ė Food Borne Parasites

We donít really think of food poisoning as a type of parasite, but there is no other way to look at it. There are over 76 million cases of food poisoning in the US every year. Some infestations last for only a day or two, others are much harder to treat, and can even be lethal.


Food poisoning is actually one of the easiest ways to tell you have been contaminated by some harmful bacteria, fungus, or other parasite. The infestation comes through improperly prepared or stored foods. For most the symptoms come and go quickly, but for others in less than peak physical condition the effects can be more dramatic. Whoís at the greatest risk: Infants, elderly, pregnant women, and those with a compromised immune system. There are thousands of deaths from food poisoning complications each year in the United States.

What is the treatment? Most of us ride it out, with that ill-feeling and a few days in bed. For more severe symptoms a trip to the doctor or emergency room may be warranted. Treatment will be dictated by the severity and cause.

Botulism is one form of food poisoning that occasionally receives some media attention. In the case of botulism an antitoxin will be prescribed. This is a type of antidote to the botulism poisoning. Antibiotics are not usually helpful in treating food poisoning.

How can you prevent food poisoning?

  • Wash your hands and cooking utensils with hot water and soap.
  • Use a separate cutting board for meats, and clean cutting boards right away.
  • Refrigerate perishables right away, and use freezer bags for transporting.
  • Thoroughly cook foods, and use a meat thermometer for any foods you cook to assure the proper temperature has been reached. Beef, lamb and pork should reach 160 degrees, poultry 180 degrees.
  • Donít use food past the expiration date.
  • Refrigerate leftovers quickly; donít leave anything out over two hours, especially those containing mayonnaise.
  • Always wash your fruits and vegetables, especially when eating them raw.


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