It is important to understand the potential consequences when food is not properly prepared, cooked and stored. There are various bacteria that can multiply rapidly and cause a number of serious health risks. There are a few that are the most common culprits, negatively affecting the health of millions of people every year.
The Possible Consequences of Improperly Handling Food
Every year there are illnesses, many severe, and deaths that can be attributed to the mishandling of the food we ingest.
I attended an in-service training recently. I have to admit I scowled when I heard I had to attend. I did not believe it was not applicable to my job and I felt it was a waste of my time, time that would be better spent “in the field” doing what I do best.
On the morning the training began, I started to daydream about all of the things I had to put on the backburner for the day and would have to work twice as hard to make up on another. Somewhere in those thoughts, something caught my attention. It may have been the graphic illustration of how rapidly bacteria multiply on food or it could have been the statistics that were presented: On average, one in six Americans becomes ill with food poisoning each year. That equates to approximately 48 Million people. Of those 48 million people, 100,000 will end up in the hospital with possible long term consequences from food poisoning. When the potential consequences were identified, I found them to be alarming and quite frightening.
I quickly realized this in-service training was indeed pertinent. From an employment perspective it is important that I be able to recognize if various symptoms or ailments may be an indicator of food poisoning. This information was valuable for personal reasons as well. As the primary person involved in food preparation, cooking, and storing in my household, I should be very aware of the responsibilities and recommended safeguards that come with each task. I now know the consequences that can result from not taking these responsibilities seriously.
Acute Kidney failure can be caused by the E.coli bacteria. This is the most common reason for acute kidney failure in children. The E. coli bacteria can cause an infection in the digestive system that produces toxic substances that destroy red blood cells. This can result in injury to the kidney and can cause Hemolytic-uremic syndrome.
Nerve or Brain Damage can be caused from Meningitis, Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes around the brain. The Listeria infection can cause meningitis. This can be extremely serious at any age and the potential for death is there but If a newborn is infected with Listeria, long termconsequences may include mental retardation, seizures or paralysis. It can cause the infant to lose the ability to see or hear as well.
|Controversies in Acute Kidney Injury (Contributions to Nephrology)|
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a serious and as yet incompletely understood disorder in which sudden impairment of kidney function occurs secondary to one or more of a variety of ...
Another bacteria, Campylobacter, can cause an infection that can trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Guillain-Barré syndrome is a disorder that affects the nerves of the body. This occurs when an individual’s immune system attacks their own nerves. It can result in paralysis. Paralysis can last several weeks, usually requiring intensive care. Of the reported cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in this country, at least 40 % of them may have been triggered by an infection with Campylobacter.
Campylobacter infections may also be responsible for people developing chronic arthritis. I was personally surprised to learn that a Shigella or Salmonella infection may be responsible for some people developing joint pain, eye irritation or painful urination. This is termed reactive arthritis and it can last for an extended period of time. It has the potential of causing chronic arthritis.
Vibrio infections may infect the bloodstream and cause the potential for death in over half of the diagnosed cases, within two days, due to illness. In addition, Norovirus infections, (a group of related viruses) cause a myriad of symptoms and health complications, often severe or life threatening.
|Guillain-Barre Syndrome: From Diagnosis to Recovery (American Academy of Neurology)|
Guillain-Barré Syndrome causes the body's immune system to attack the peripheral nervous system, producing feelings of tingling and weakness that increase in intensity until the...
The statistics are quite unsettling. The organisms and infections I have listed above account for 88% of the deaths associated with food poisoning. In the United States, these deaths number at least 3,000. Proper food preparation, cooking, and storage can reduce the potential risk of exposure and infection.