Food Borne Illnesses
Food borne illnesses have attracted a ubiquitously nasty reputation, and for good reason. For the most part, they make their victims absolutely miserable. Typically having severe gastrointestinal effects, they ravage sufferers, incapacitating them for days at a time. And to make matters more complicate, they’re often very tough to trace, striking unknowing eaters with an unexpected vengeance. Though they’re not completely preventable, you can help protect yourself from food borne illnesses by knowing the most common types, and how to avoid them.
- Shigellosis. Colloquially known as “bacterial dysentery”, Shigellosis' hallmark is vicious diarrhea. When you’ve contracted it, you’ll be able to tell pretty easily. Severe stomach cramps, bloody stool, and a light fever are this food borne illness' most common symptoms. Though it usually goes away on its own after a few days, a viable option to get rid of this nasty food borne illness quickly and effectively is a visit to the doctor for antibiotics.
- Norovirus. Also known as the “24 hour flu”, the Norovirus is one of the leading perpetrators causing food borne illness. It is usually spread through handling of food by infected people, so if you’ve eaten out recently before contracting its signature nausea, vomiting, and fever, you’ll know why you have it. The good news about this often debilitating food borne illness, on the other hand, is that it flies into and out of your system within a span of about two days.
- Campylobacter. Though not very commonly known by laypeople, Campylobacter is the single most common cause of diarrhea on Earth. When not in your gut, the bacterium makes its home in bird’s gastrointestinal systems, including chickens and turkeys. So if you’re eating poultry for dinner tonight, be sure not to consume any raw juices or undercooked meat. The "food safe" temperature to kill food borne illnesses associated with poultry is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Escherichia Coli. Though it’s likely living inside your intestines right now, specific types of E. Coli, especially those found in cow meat, can cause humans to become violently ill. The most common source of the harmful types of E. Coli bacteria is red meat, specifically ground beef. Even the smallest pocket of bacteria gets mixed with all the other beef in the grinding process, often infecting much of the batch. Other more unexpected foods aren’t completely safe either. Unwashed vegetables like lettuce and even unpasteurized fruit juices have been found to contain harmful E. Coli bacteria in the past. Regardless, ordering your hamburgers on the medium to medium-well side is an effective way to mitigate the risk that this sometimes life-threatening food borne illness presents.