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Jul 10, 2014

Healthy Living Takes a look at food poisoning

Summer is here! It’s hot, it’s humid and many families need very little excuse to spend some time outdoors. Unfortunately, bacteria also loves hot and humid conditions. This is part of the reason why during the warmer months, there are usually more cases of food poisoning. Tonight in Healthy Living, we sit down with a doctor for a bit of food poisoning 1-0-1. We discuss the types of bacteria that are common and most importantly, tips to know when to go to the doctor.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

If you’ve ever had a bad case of food poisoning; you know exactly how nasty and uncomfortable it is. Well you’re not alone , food poisoning is very common all over the world.


Dr. Jorge Hidalgo, Internist/Adult Intensivist, KHMH & BHPL

Dr. Jorge Hidalgo

“The food borne illness affect more or cases seventy-seven billion of people worldwide, from those more or less three hundred and fifty thousand require being hospitalized and on average three thousand people globally die due to that and everything depends on how soon you recognize the symptoms and how soon you seek medical attention. The classic symptoms for food borne poisoning are nausea, vomiting,  retching, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and depends what is causing the symptoms, the incubation period can be as early as one hour you ate something or three to seven days.”


In fact, it’s a very common misconception that food poisoning is only caused by foods consumed over the last 24 hours. It can be, but not always.


Dr. Jorge Hidalgo

“There are many, many ways we can contract food borne diseases. There are probably about two hundred and fifty types of germs that can cause this type of condition. For the most part there are five types of germs that are most common for people to get sick due to that and we can say in our region, salmonella is an important one, E Coli is also an important one, in the babies, it can also cause problems with the kidneys.  We also have listeria, listeriosis. This is an important one. Also we can have the staphylococcus virus and particularly this type of food virus you can develop within hours. As close as five to seven hours after. And of course we have the viruses’ type of conditions, the rota virus. These are the ones we are more familiar with.”


E Coli will produce symptoms after an incubation period of around 10-12 hours and last for 3 to 5 days. The bacteriacan be found in undercooked vegetables, beef, water, and salads that have been fecally contaminated. Listeriosis can present around 3 weeks after exposure. That bacteria is commonly found in deli meats, soft cheeses, ice cream, milk, and frozen products.The most common though is the salmonella bacteria – commonly found in poultry, eggs, meat, and unpasteurized milk.


Dr. Jorge Hidalgo

“Salmonella is basically a condition you can contract from unorderly handling chicken or the manipulation of food. Especially if we’re not washing hands. Develop symptoms twenty-four hrs to five days, you develop fever, muscle ache, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Severe case of salmonella you can be hospitalized, or in extreme cases can have intestinal perforation.”



Typically, food poisoning is self-limiting; which means over time it will run its course and you will feel better. So Dr. Hidalgo explains when you should seek medical attention.


Dr. Jorge Hidalgo

“If we notice something is not right in the symptoms we have a lot of vomiting, diarrhea all these things can lead to a severe dehydration. These are the times that when it basically identify, obviously it’s something we can’t handle at home lets seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further complications. If you’re unable to tolerate fluids by mouth, all those are indications that you need to go for attention and probably you will need to get IV fluids just for a short periods of time as soon as you are able to tolerate water then we switch to oral rehydration salts. Best to go for a medical look. In General, it can affect all people, but most vulnerable are pregnant women, small kids and elderly people those people that are for some reason taking a treatment that weakens immune system. Those are the population at risk. Like the ecoli and then small babies if it isn’t controlled on time then those can lead to acute kidney failure.”


The prevention for food poisoning is basic: have good hygiene, proper food handling and storage practices and be observant.


Dr. Jorge Hidalgo

“Don’t forget your basic hygiene measures. Washing hands before and after. When you are buying food, they are also manipulating the money. Those things we need to be basically be very observant. At home you need to cook your food properly, put you food in the fridge on time and at the proper temperature. Simple things to prevent developing one of those conditions.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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