Food poisoning can quickly spoil or even ruin your vacations. The medical term for food poisoning is gastroenteritis - known more commonly as Delhi belly. It is the commonest health problem to strike travelers. Up to half of those visiting tropical regions are affected. Visitors to India and Asia are most at risk. Surprisingly, even 10 per cent of visitors to European resorts also succumb.
Food poisoning stems from eating or drinking contaminated food or liquids. Some cases are infective, and are caused by viruses or bacteria. Others are non-infective and linked with chemical pollutants or pre-formed poisons (toxins), such as those produced by staphylococcal bacteria, toxic plankton and some types of mushroom. Food poisoning after eating shellfish is especially common, as all four culprits - viruses, bacteria, toxins or chemicals - can be involved.
Symptoms of food poisoning include stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases the victim may develop a fever or even go into shock and collapse. Symptoms usually come on within:
30 minutes, in the case of chemical poisoning, for example accidentally ingesting weed killer.
One and 12 hours, if the illness is due to bacterial toxins, for example botulinum toxin
12 and 48 hours, if it results from a bacterial or viral infection, for example salmonella, rotavirus
The worst form of infective diarrhea is dysentery, in which there is also fever, and blood and slime in the motions. There are two distinct types of dysentery: one due to infection with a group of bacteria known as shigella, and the other due to a single-celled organism known as entamoeba.
In order to prevent this unpleasant disease (actually, there is no pleasant one) follow these simple rules:
· Wash your hands properly before and after meals;
· Always have a napkin or a handkerchief with you;
· Do not touch things in public places such as seats, handrails, door handles, counters, and whatever. If it is unavoidable, always wash your hands with soap afterwards;
· Do not buy products with a short life storage, e.g milk, at the market;
· If you still buy something at the market, look at seller, how neat she /he is, in what conditions they are selling;
· Wash properly fruits and vegetables;
· Be careful about national cuisine;
· Try to avoid raw food unless you are got used to it;
· Choose well cooked dishes;
· If you want to taste some exotic or national dish ask the servant about the ingredients and the way of cooking;
· Choose restaurants with care. It is better to go a more expensive restaurant with a good name than to suffer from diarrhea or vomiting afterwards.