Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling

January 17th, 2009 by admin

Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling

Article from WEBMD

This topic is about many different types of food poisoning. For more information onE. coli and toxoplasmosis, see the topics E. coli Infection and Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy.

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating foods that have harmful organisms in them. These harmful germs can include bacteria, parasites, and viruses. They are mostly found in raw meat, chicken, fish, and eggs, but can spread to any type of food. They can also grow on food that is left out on counters or outdoors or is stored too long before you eat it. Sometimes food poisoning happens when people do not wash their hands before they touch food.

Most of the time, food poisoning is mild and goes away after a few days. All you can do is wait for your body to get rid of the germ causing the illness. But some types of food poisoning may be more serious, and you may need to see a doctor.

What are the symptoms?

The first symptom of food poisoning is usually diarrhea. You may also feel sick to your stomach, vomit, or have stomach cramps. How you feel when you have food poisoning mostly depends on how healthy you are and what germ is making you sick.

If you vomit or have diarrhea a lot, you can get dehydrated. Dehydration means that your body has lost too much fluid. Watch for signs of dehydration, which include having a dry mouth, feeling lightheaded, and passing only a little dark urine. Children can get dehydrated very quickly and should be watched closely. Pregnant women should always call a doctor if they think they may have food poisoning.

How do harmful germs get into food?

Germs can get into food when:Meat is processed. It is normal to find bacteria in the intestines of healthy animals that we use for food. Sometimes the bacteria get mixed up with the parts of those animals that we eat.

The food is watered or washed. If the water used to irrigate or wash fresh fruits and vegetables has germs from animal manure or human sewage in it, those germs can get on the fruits and vegetables.

The food is prepared. When someone who has germs on his or her hands touches the food, or if the food touches other food that has germs on it, the germs can spread. For example, if you use the same cutting board for chopping vegetables and preparing raw meat, germs from the raw meat can get on the vegetables.

How will you know if you have food poisoning?

Because most food poisoning is mild and goes away after a few days, most people do not go to the doctor. You can usually assume that you have food poisoning if other people who ate the same food also got sick.

If you think you have food poisoning, call your local health department to report it. This could help keep others from getting sick.

Call your doctor if you think you may have a serious illness. If your diarrhea or vomiting is very bad or if you do not start to get better after a few days, you may need to see your doctor.

If you do go to the doctor, he or she will ask you about your symptoms (diarrhea, feeling sick to your stomach, or throwing up), ask about your health in general, and do a physical exam. Your doctor will ask about where you have been eating and whether anyone who ate the same foods is also sick. Sometimes the doctor will take stool or blood samples and have them tested.

How is it treated?

In most cases, food poisoning goes away on its own in 2 to 3 days. All you need to do is rest and get plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink a cup of water or rehydration drink (such as Lytren, Rehydralyte, or Pedialyte) each time you have a large, loose stool. Sports drinks, soda, and fruit juices have too much sugar and should not be used to rehydrate. Doctors recommend trying to eat normally as soon as possible. When you can eat without vomiting, try to eat the kind of food you usually do. But try to stay away from foods that are high in fat or sugar.

Antibiotics are usually not used to treat food poisoning. Medicines that stop diarrhea (antidiarrheals) can be helpful, but they should not be given to infants or young children.

If you think you are severely dehydrated, you may need to go to the hospital. And in some severe cases, such as for botulism or E. coli infection, you may need medical care right away.

How can you prevent food poisoning?

You can prevent most cases of food poisoning with these simple steps:

Clean. Wash your hands often and always before you touch food. Keep your knives, cutting boards, and counters clean. You can wash them with hot, soapy water, or put items in the dishwasher and use a disinfectant on your counter. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables.

Separate. Keep germs from raw meat from getting on fruits, vegetables, and other foods. Put cooked meat on a clean platter, not back on the one that held the raw meat.

Cook. Make sure that meat, chicken, fish, and eggs are fully cooked.

Chill. Refrigerate leftovers right away. Don’t leave cut fruits and vegetables at room temperature for a long time.

When in doubt, throw it out. If you are not sure if a food is safe, don’t eat it.

Posted in practical health care | No Comments »

Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Flu

January 15th, 2009 by admin

2008-09 INFLUENZA PREVENTION & CONTROL RECOMMENDATIONS

This report updates the 2007 recommendations by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

Diagnosis

Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Influenza

On this page:

Signs and Symptoms

Influenza viruses are spread from person to person primarily through large-particle respiratory droplet transmission (e.g., when an infected person coughs or sneezes near a susceptible person). Transmission via large-particle droplets requires close contact between source and recipient persons, because droplets do not remain suspended in the air and generally travel only a short distance (less than or equal to 1 meter) through the air. Contact with respiratory-droplet contaminated surfaces is another possible source of transmission. Airborne transmission (via small-particle residue [less than or equal to 5µm] of evaporated droplets that might remain suspended in the air for long periods of time) also is thought to be possible, although data supporting airborne transmission are limited. The typical incubation period for influenza is 1–4 days (average: 2 days). Adults shed influenza virus from the day before symptoms begin through 5–10 days after illness onset. However, the amount of virus shed, and presumably infectivity, decreases rapidly by 3–5 days after onset in an experimental human infection model. Young children also might shed virus several days before illness onset, and children can be infectious for 10 or more days after onset of symptoms. Severely immunocompromised persons can shed virus for weeks or months.

Uncomplicated influenza illness is characterized by the abrupt onset of constitutional and respiratory signs and symptoms (e.g., fever, myalgia, headache, malaise, nonproductive cough, sore throat, and rhinitis). Among children, otitis media, nausea, and vomiting also are commonly reported with influenza illness. Uncomplicated influenza illness typically resolves after 3–7 days for the majority of persons, although cough and malaise can persist for >2 weeks. However, influenza virus infections can cause primary influenza viral pneumonia; exacerbate underlying medical conditions (e.g., pulmonary or cardiac disease); lead to secondary bacterial pneumonia, sinusitis, or otitis media; or contribute to coinfections with other viral or bacterial pathogens. Young children with influenza virus infection might have initial symptoms mimicking bacterial sepsis with high fevers, and febrile seizures have been reported in 6%–20% of children hospitalized with influenza virus infection. Population-based studies among hospitalized children with laboratory-confirmed influenza have demonstrated that although the majority of hospitalizations are brief (2 or fewer days), 4%–11% of children hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza required treatment in the intensive care unit, and 3% required mechanical ventilation. Among 1,308 hospitalized children in one study, 80% were aged <5 years, and 27% were aged <6 months. Influenza virus infection also has been uncommonly associated with encephalopathy, transverse myelitis, myositis, myocarditis, pericarditis, and Reye syndrome.

Respiratory illnesses caused by influenza virus infection are difficult to distinguish from illnesses caused by other respiratory pathogens on the basis of signs and symptoms alone. Sensitivity and predictive value of clinical definitions vary, depending on the prevalence of other respiratory pathogens and the level of influenza activity. Among generally healthy older adolescents and adults living in areas with confirmed influenza virus circulation, estimates of the positive predictive value of a simple clinical definition of influenza (acute onset of cough and fever) for laboratory-confirmed influenza infection have varied (range: 79%–88%).

Young children are less likely to report typical influenza symptoms (e.g., fever and cough). In studies conducted among children aged 5–12 years, the positive predictive value of fever and cough together was 71%–83%, compared with 64% among children aged <5 years. In one large, population-based surveillance study in which all children with fever or symptoms of acute respiratory tract infection were tested for influenza, 70% of hospitalized children aged <6 months with laboratory-confirmed influenza were reported to have fever and cough, compared with 91% of hospitalized children aged 6 months–5 years. Among children who subsequently were shown to have laboratory-confirmed influenza infections, only 28% of those hospitalized and 17% of those treated as outpatients had a discharge diagnosis of influenza.

Clinical definitions have performed poorly in some studies of older patients. A study of nonhospitalized patients aged 60 and older years indicated that the presence of fever, cough, and acute onset had a positive predictive value of 30% for influenza. Among hospitalized patients aged 65 years and older with chronic cardiopulmonary disease, a combination of fever, cough, and illness of <7 days had a positive predictive value of 53% for confirmed influenza infection. In addition, the absence of symptoms of influenza-like illness (ILI) does not effectively rule out influenza; among hospitalized adults with laboratory-confirmed infection in two studies, 44%–51% had typical ILI symptoms. A study of vaccinated older persons with chronic lung disease reported that cough was not predictive of laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection, although having both fever or feverishness and myalgia had a positive predictive value of 41%. These results highlight the challenges of identifying influenza illness in the absence of laboratory confirmation and indicate that the diagnosis of influenza should be considered in patients with respiratory symptoms or fever during influenza season.

Hospitalizations and Deaths from Influenza

In the United States, annual epidemics of influenza typically occur during the fall or winter months, but the peak of influenza activity can occur as late as April or May (Figure 1). Influenza-related complications requiring urgent medical care, including hospitalizations or deaths, can result from the direct effects of influenza virus infection, from complications associated with age or pregnancy, or from complications of underlying cardiopulmonary conditions or other chronic diseases. Studies that have measured rates of a clinical outcome without a laboratory confirmation of influenza virus infection (e.g., respiratory illness requiring hospitalization during influenza season) to assess the effect of influenza can be difficult to interpret because of circulation of other respiratory pathogens (e.g., respiratory syncytial virus) during the same time as influenza viruses.

During seasonal influenza epidemics from 1979–1980 through 2000–2001, the estimated annual overall number of influenza-associated hospitalizations in the United States ranged from approximately 55,000 to 431,000 per annual epidemic (mean: 226,000). The estimated annual number of deaths attributed to influenza from the 1990–91 influenza season through 1998–99 ranged from 17,000 to 51,000 per epidemic (mean: 36,000). In the United States, the estimated number of influenza-associated deaths increased during 1990–1999. This increase was attributed in part to the substantial increase in the number of persons aged 65 years and older who were at increased risk for death from influenza complications. In one study, an average of approximately 19,000 influenza-associated pulmonary and circulatory deaths per influenza season occurred during 1976–1990, compared with an average of approximately 36,000 deaths per season during 1990–1999. In addition, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, which have been associated with higher mortality (54), predominated in 90% of influenza seasons during 1990–1999, compared with 57% of seasons during 1976–1990.

Influenza viruses cause disease among persons in all age groups. Rates of infection are highest among children, but the risks for complications, hospitalizations, and deaths from influenza are higher among persons aged 65 years and older, young children, and persons of any age who have medical conditions that place them at increased risk for complications from influenza. Estimated rates of influenza-associated hospitalizations and deaths varied substantially by age group in studies conducted during different influenza epidemics. During 1990–1999, estimated average rates of influenza-associated pulmonary and circulatory deaths per 100,000 persons were 0.4–0.6 among persons aged 0–49 years, 7.5 among persons aged 50–64 years, and 98.3 among persons aged 65 years and older.


NOTE: The text above is taken from Prevention & Control of Influenza – Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) 2008. MMWR 2008 Jul 17; Early Release:1-60. (Also available as PDF, 586K)

Posted in practical health care | No Comments »

 
© 2017 Theme by Theme by NFZA Brought by - Designed by: | |