Food Borne Illnesses – Watch What You Eat and Drink

Food poisoning. We all know the symptoms of something we ate that we should not of, or not been careful about. Certain tips we know that are tried and true. For example you may have been told to stay away and be careful about potato salad at buffets in restaurants or at all in one inclusive hotel resorts. Similarly you may have been cautioned when traveling abroad away from the US and our modern municipal water and sanitation systems not to drink the water, down to being careful of ice cubes in your alcoholic beverages, the ice cubes being made from untreated water. Still what is food poisoning and basic run of the mill food borne illness and illnesses?

Food borne illness as well as food borne illnesses affect a myriad of sufferers be it at home in a local restaurant or away from home traveling on a vacation. It can happen in corner diners, it can happen in posh restaurants, it can happen on expensive cruises. Sometimes it’s the fault of the restaurant or food service or caterer. Sometimes it’s really nobody’s fault. Food poisoning can occur in the cleanest of establishments and food service operations, with the best systems for no reason at all altogether. The true story is told of a smaller Winnipeg Manitoba local eatery which was attacked and infested with a pathogen on some ordinary lettuce.

The health inspectors did their job in follow-up in reports from patrons who were affected with severe food borne illness. It turned out in effect, that no lack of cleanliness or food handling procedures had occurred in any manner or forms what so ever. Yet the word had gone out of this plague which had affected the patrons who ate at this establishment. The business of this local restaurant was done to a trickle. Yet the food inspectors held no one at blame in any manner. It could have happened to any restaurant under their charge indeed that were following procedures and cleanliness procedures to Bristol standards.

The next day a photo of the inspectors dining at this restaurant along with an explanatory tale appeared on the front page of a major local newspaper. Lo and behold tons of former patrons of the restaurant, and even non- patrons appeared in virtual scores on the weekend to save this restaurant from oblivion and extinction. It was a case of standing room only in the line up alone from people who came to support the restaurateurs.

Yet the story of food poisoning and food poisonings is not always such a good and positive one. Many people, who suffer food poisoning, do not realize what they are affected with. They may pass it off simply as the “flu” or “stomach flu”. At one time or another most of us had probably had a food borne illness. We may not have known what it was or chose to let the flu and its symptoms ride it out. While it is true those symptoms of food borne illnesses and food poisonings may be mild and simply disappear in a few hours or at most several days. (The classic description of the standard 72 hour flu comes to mind). Yet in other cases food borne illnesses can result in hospitalization and even be fatal especially in the young, the elderly and those with serious illnesses to begin with.

Which brings us to our summary of food borne illness and illnesses and the perils of apparent food poisonings? Watch what you eat especially when traveling. If you appear to have the flu – then monitor your symptoms. If you are ill with another illness or a number of serious illnesses then pay particular additional close attention. If your symptoms continue and do not subside promptly seek medical attention.

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