Foodborne illnesses can affect you at any time. There are ways to mitigate the chances of infection, such as washing produce and cooking foods to the proper temperature, but sometimes you cannot control when it occurs, such as when you’re eating out at a restaurant. Still, it’s important to know what to look for. This guide on the most common foodborne illnesses to avoid will educate you on some common signs and symptoms.
Salmonella is one of the most common foodborne illnesses. It affects millions of people every year, requiring tens of thousands of hospitalizations. People who get salmonella typically experience stomach cramps, diarrhea, and a fever. Symptoms can last many hours to multiple days, depending on the infection’s severity. Most victims do not need medical attention, but serious cases may require hospitalization. If you suffered from salmonella from your favorite restaurant, you may even be entitled to legal compensation, depending on your case.
E. coli is another common foodborne illness to know, occurring when environmental bacteria infects your food. Some strains are harmless, while others are infectious. People who suffer from serious cases of E. coli experience diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, and vomiting. Recovery can take days, but some extreme cases are life threatening. If you experience a urinary tract infection, respiratory illness, or a bloodstream infection, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The norovirus is a highly contagious virus that infects victims through contaminated food and water. Therefore, it’s one of the most common foodborne illnesses to avoid. Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. While you can contract norovirus in restaurants, it also commonly occurs through improper cooking techniques at home. Always wash your fruits and vegetables, and thoroughly cook proteins. Wash your hands often to avoid cross contamination. If you’re sick, let others know so that you avoid spreading the virus. Although norovirus outbreaks can occur at any time, they most often occur during colder months, from November to April.
Finally, be aware of botulism. Botulism is a serious illness that attacks the body’s nervous system. Symptoms start with weakness and difficulty breathing, sometimes leading to death. Anyone experiencing these symptoms must immediately seek medical attention. Botulism also seriously affects infants and the elderly. Look out for constipation, poor feeding, drooping eyelids, weak crying, slurred speech, muscle weakness, and difficulty breathing.