Food Borne Diseases and Treatment

Foodborne illnesses may lead to dehydration, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and other complications. Acute foodborne illnesses may also lead to chronic—or long lasting—health problems. Some foodborne illnesses lead to other serious complications. For example, C. botulinum and certain chemicals in fish and seafood can paralyze the muscles that control breathing. L. monocytogenes can cause spontaneous abortion or stillbirth in pregnant women. Acute foodborne illnesses may lead to chronic disorders, including reactive arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and Guillain-Barre syndrome.  The only treatment needed for most foodborne illnesses is replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. If diarrhea is caused by bacteria or parasites, over-the-counter medications may prolong the problem. Medications to treat diarrhea in adults can be dangerous for infants and children and should only be given with a health care provider’s guidance. Hospitalization may be required to treat life threatening symptoms and complications, such as paralysis, severe dehydration, and HUS. Foodborne illnesses can be prevented by properly storing, cooking, cleaning, and handling foods.


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