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Food poisoning is the result of eating or drinking food contaminated with one or more classes of microorganisms. Not all microorganisms cause toxiinfections, some, such as lactic acid bacteria, are responsible for the transformation of milk into other foods such as yogurt or cheese through fermentation. However others, such as Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Campylobacter, or some viruses such as those belonging to the group of novoviruses, are potentially dangerous.
Despite the variety, almost all these infections have a common symptomatology, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, and often fever and other discomforts. Symptoms can appear between 2 and 48 hours after ingesting the spoiled food, depending on various factors, such as the microbial load, the amount ingested and the virulence of the strain in question, the latter being the main determinant of the severity of the disease. episode.
1. Campylobacter: it is usually the most common bacterium to cause poisoning, followed by Salmonella. In general, it can be found in raw or undercooked chicken meat, as well as in milk or water in poor condition. It is not usually transmitted from person to person, but extreme precautions and hygiene should be taken to avoid contagion. The average duration of the symptoms is between 2 and 5 days, although in cases of low defenses it can last 10 days.
2. Salmonella and Shigella: They can be found in raw or undercooked eggs and meat, as well as in milk and dairy products in poor condition, for example, when the cold chain is broken. The duration of this poisoning is extremely variable, as well as its severity. In some cases, a lactose-free diet is necessary to permanently eliminate the presence of Salmonella.
3. E. coli: It is one of the most serious toxic infections, manifesting itself in the form of bloody diarrhea. Thus, E. coli O157: H7 is the most dangerous strain of all, requiring in many cases the hospitalization of the patient, especially in the case of babies and children. coli, can be found in almost any food that may have been contaminated with animal feces, or in drinking water.
4. The novovirus group: it poses a particular danger since it includes a wide variety of strains, so developing immunity to them is practically impossible. They can be found in food, but also on utensils and surfaces in contact with them, and for this reason can be easily transmitted from one individual to another, especially considering that children share cutlery, glasses, etc.
5. Botulism: Another serious infection in childhood is botulism, caused by botulinum toxin. Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium that produces this toxin, one of the most dangerous known, since it affects the nervous system, which can cause death. The absence of this pathogen or its spores cannot be guaranteed 100% in canned food or in some foods such as honey, so they should be avoided in childhood.
Correct cooking and hygiene in food preparation are the main ways to avoid food poisoning. In addition, respecting the cold chain and avoiding cross contamination, that is, the contact of raw food with others already cooked, is essential to keep pathogens away.
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