|There are several forms of food poisoning. Bacterial food poisoning is often caused by bacteria in food that has been poorly prepared. Salmonella is one of most common culprits and is found in many farm products such as eggs and chicken. Toxic (potentially lethal) food poisoning such as botulism can be due to poisons caused by bacteria in certain types of food, including honey and fish. Some foods are entirely poisonous or have components that are poisonous if not properly prepared (crab and some fish are among the most common culprits).
When faced with suspected food poisoning, ask what food has been eaten in the last 48 hours. Food poisoning can take some time to show (however, toxic food poisoning tends to act much more quickly). Be alert to the possibility of food poisoning if there is
any combination of the following.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Strange-tasting food or food that has been left out in the heat.
- Several people with the same symptoms.
- Undercooked or reheated food.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- Aches and pains
- Signs of shock
Symptoms of toxic poisoning are dizziness, slurred speech, and difficulty breathing and swallowing.
- Monitor and maintain the person’s airway and breathing. If there are breathing difficulties, call 911.
- Help the person into a comfortable position.
- Call for medical advice on treatment and care.
- Give plenty of fluids to drink, particularly if the person has vomiting and diarrhea.
- Support the person if he or she vomits, providing a bowl and towel as necessary.
Do not underestimate food poisoning, particularly in the very young or the elderly.
COMMON POISONOUS PLANTS
Many plants have components that are mildly poisonous if eaten, or that may cause a reaction if they are touched.
English ivy (leaves)
Tomato (leaves and stems)
Iris (root and flower)
Lupines (seeds and flower)
If you suspect that somebody has eaten a poisonous plant, attempt to identify it and seek medical advice. If the person is having breathing difficulties or appears to be lapsing into unconsciousness, call 911. Be prepared to resuscitate if necessary.
Some other common poisonous plants
Deadly nightshade (roots and berries)
Mushrooms (many wild mushrooms and toadstools)