Food poisoning - Mostly bacteria are to blame

The sun is shining, the first ice cream tastes like more - hours later there are unfortunately stomach aches and diarrhea. Do you know that? Often bacterial contaminants cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but food can also contain other toxins. Food poisoning is the term used to describe all the symptoms associated with ingesting foods that are toxic to humans in any way - they contain toxins from bacteria, fungi, fish or plants, or chemical toxins.

Food poisoning or gastrointestinal infection?

The difference to the food infection and the gastrointestinal infection is that there are always involved pathogens - usually viruses, more rarely bacteria or parasites. However, the symptoms are the same and in most, most common cases, the treatment does not differ.

In a food poisoning caused by bacteria so their toxins, in a food infection, the bacterium itself the disease. The distinction seems academic, but is important in some pathogens in terms of therapy.

How does food poisoning come about?

The causes of food poisoning can be very different. Different foods may contain different germs, toxins or impurities. Below we present you with possible triggers of food poisoning.

Bacterial contaminants

Especially in the warm season, germs such as salmonella, staphylococci or enterococci multiply quickly - especially if foods have not been stored properly (uncooled) or carelessly prepared (forget about washing your hands). Ice cream, dairy products and raw eggs (very typical mayonnaise), sausages, meat (especially minced meat), poultry, fish and seafood are particularly at risk.

In addition to the food they eat, they also eat entire "legions" of bacteria and their toxic metabolic products known as toxins - nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

A highly dangerous special case are the highly toxic botulinum toxins, which are neurotoxins that are formed by Clostridia bacteria in decayed canned food. They paralyze the body and respiratory muscles and can lead to respiratory distress. Early on, double images occur, as the eye muscles are attacked.

Poisons of plants and mushrooms

Among the 10, 000 known mushroom species there are about 1, 000 edible and 500 poisonous - which makes mushroom picking difficult and even for the untrained sometimes life-threatening. Fungal toxins not only attack the gastrointestinal system, but can also lead to hallucinations, liver damage, circulatory failure and death.

Plant toxins such as solanine (from raw potatoes or green tomatoes) or atropine (from the belladonna) show similar symptoms: Paralysis often occurs here.

Shells and fish

Saxitoxin is produced by certain algae, which are used as food and enriched in mussels. Consuming such mussels, depending on the amount of poison to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, in larger quantities to paralysis to respiratory distress. Tetrodotoxin is the well-known nerve poison of puffer fish, from which even very small amounts trigger respiratory paralysis.

Chemical contaminants

For example, antimony, arsenic, lead, cadmium and zinc are found in some glazes of crockery or in glass that can be attacked by acidic foods. Also in pest control or wood preservatives are these ingredients. These toxins irritate skin and mucous membranes, are stored in body tissues and damage the human body in many ways.

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