Press "Enter" to skip to content

What to do in case of Food poisoning & Food Infection

If pathogens are present on the food, it can quickly lead to the first signs of food poisoning: abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. What helps, how you can protect yourself.

The bee sting was delicious. But a few hours later, the gut grumbles. Then it goes fast. Vomiting, diarrhea, severe abdominal pain. Was the bee sting at fault? Well possible, because the symptoms speak for food poisoning. Especially if the girlfriend who also tasted the bee sting, is the same.

Food poisoning or food infection?

Under the terms “food poisoning” and “food infection,” many people understand the same thing. There is one difference: Food poisoning is not an infection, so it is not contagious. Behind food poisoning, as the name implies, are toxins called “the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus causes toxins”, which are either already formed in the diet by bacteria and enter the gastrointestinal tract via food after the pathogens have been absorbed into the body, Most of the food poisoning, more rarely bacteria of the Bacillus cereus group and Clostridium species.


In a food infection, however, the pathogen enters the gastrointestinal tract, increases there, and causes discomfort. Campylobacter bacteria, Salmonella, and Listeria are classic causes of foodborne infections. EHEC bacteria, Yersinia, hepatitis, and rotaviruses can also be present in the food and lead to illness. The pathogens can sit on the same foods as those that trigger food poisoning.

Which foods are susceptible to pathogens?

Foods such as meat, poultry, or fish can be carriers of pathogens. Even raw eggs – whether “pure” or processed into dips, cake fillings, and cream ice cream -, lettuce, potato salad, fresh milk, and cheese from raw dairy sometimes contain pathogens. Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that causes botulism, because it can only grow and multiply without oxygen, is predominantly present in canned and vacuum-packed foods – albeit very rarely.

The toxin of this pathogen is a neurotoxin, which, besides nausea and diarrhea, can lead to impaired vision and paralysis – botulism. The poisoning can be life-threatening, leading to respiratory arrest. If such symptoms occur – with botulism typically 12 to 36 hours after eating, you must see a doctor immediately, in case of doubt also call the emergency doctor.

Beware of bloated cans.

Beware of bloated cans.

If a tin can bloat, you should dispose of it or hand it in to the local food control authority because inflated doses can point to the Botulism Erreger. However, the main danger is not from finished products, but according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment of self-canned preserves.

Smells or tastes a food weird, you should better keep away from it. Because Bacterial infestation can be felt in this way, but he does not have. A bee sting can also taste delicious and still be full of salmonella or staphylococci.

Symptoms: How is a food-borne illness?

How is a food-borne illness

The first signs of food poisoning – typically nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and possibly diarrhea – appear quickly. This usually happens within a few hours after the toxin enters the body. But the symptoms disappear soon after, often within a few hours up to days. Then the body got rid of the viruses again. However, the symptoms can be very different depending on the causative toxin or pathogen. In a food infection, it usually takes a little longer, until the first signs appear, usually one to two days. The so-called incubation period can also be up to a week or longer.

Treatment: What helps with food-borne illness?

If you notice the signs of food-borne illness, you should consult a doctor as a precaution. Often, other people who have consumed the same also have symptoms. Depending on how severe vomiting or diarrhea is, the body may lose a lot of fluids and salts. Drink therefore sufficiently preferably not pure water, but for example, sweetened tea. Unique electrolyte solutions from the pharmacy help to normalize the salt house household again. Although active ingredients such as loperamide help against diarrhea, keep the pathogenic toxin or germs in the intestine back. In a foodborne illness, they are therefore not useful.

In babies, infants, the elderly, and those who have a weakened immune system, food-borne illnesses can be more severe. Therefore, a visit to a doctor is advised. Even if the symptoms persist for over three days, symptoms such as fever or bloody diarrhea occur, and the visit to the doctor is unavoidable. There are other severe illnesses behind such signs. Particular caution applies to pregnant women as well.

How to Prevent a food-borne Illness

How to Prevent a food-borne Illness

Protect yourself against food poisoning or infection by following a few hygiene rules: If you want to prepare the food, then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after. Even after contact with raw meat or fish, you should wash your hands. Do not cut meat, poultry, or fish on the same board as lettuce, cold side dishes, or other foods that are not heated before consumption. Otherwise, germs also reach other foods, causing so-called cross-contamination.

Dispose of dew water and packaging of raw meat immediately. Clean used work surfaces after each use change sponges, dishwashing brushes, and rags regularly. Store perishable foods in the fridge – preferably separately and use them quickly. Carefully handle food in the summer, as the number of food-borne infections increases significantly. Otherwise, if you cook, fry or cook meat, fish or poultry for a sufficiently long time, most pathogens will be killed. Exception: The poison from staphylococcus survives even 30 minutes of cooking at 100 degrees Celsius. Here it only helps to wash your hands thoroughly, to keep food warm for a long time and to keep raw foods away from other foods.

Other foods that can cause poisoning include rotten fungi, the excess of alcohol, or toxins from fish. Mushrooms do not last long because of their high protein content. With liquor, less spoilage, but rather an excess of beer or wine leads to alcohol poisoning. The Ciguatera, a dangerous fish poisoning, occurs mainly in vacation countries such as the Caribbean.

Comments are closed.