Food poisoning effects can be devastating and even deadly

The FDA reports that there can be long term side effects if someone contracts food poisoning.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Michigan State University Extension reminds consumers that food safety is everyone’s responsibility. The FDA reports that there can be long term side effects if someone contracts food poisoning. One in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year. That’s about 48 million people. Most of them will recover without any lasting effects from their illness. For some, however, the effects can be devastating and even deadly.

These are some severe side effects of food poisoning:

Kidney failure: Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) is a serious illness that usually occurs when an infection in the digestive system produces toxic substances that destroy red blood cells, causing kidney injury. HUS may occur after infection with some kinds of E. coli bacteria. HUS is most common in children. In fact, it is the most common cause of acute kidney failure in children.

Chronic arthritis: A small number of persons with Shigella or Salmonella infection develop pain in their joints, irritation of the eyes and painful urination. This is called reactive arthritis. It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis, which is difficult to treat. Persons with Campylobacter infections may also develop chronic arthritis.

Brain and nerve damage: A Listeria infection can lead to meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain. If a newborn infant is infected with Listeria, long-term consequences may include mental retardation, seizures, paralysis, blindness or deafness.

Guillain-Barré syndrome: A disorder that affects the nerves of the body. This occurs when a person's immune system attacks the body's own nerves. It can result in paralysis that lasts several weeks and usually requires intensive care. As much as 40 percent of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases in this country may be triggered by an infection with Campylobacter.

Hand washing is the single most effective step you can take to reduce the spread of illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others. 

If you work in the food service sector, follow all food safety practices and if you are sick or someone in your home is sick report this to your supervisor. Everyone can help to minimize the spread of bacteria that causes food poisoning.

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