Food poisoning: types of symptoms, first aid, treatment, nutrition

Food poisoning

Food poisoning (acute toxic gastroenteritis) is an acute or chronic disease resulting from the consumption of food or products containing a toxic substance (toxins).
Food poisoning

Types of food poisoning

The occurrence of food poisoning may be associated with the consumption of products

  • poisonous in nature,
  • contaminated with toxic impurities,
  • temporarily acquiring toxic properties due to biochemical processes occurring in them at certain points in time.

Food poisoning should be distinguished from diseases caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria (for example, salmonellosis, botulism, etc.).
These types of diseases are described in the article “Intestinal infections” .

Products that are poisonous by nature, and poisoning occurs most often, include poisonous mushrooms.

Mushroom poisoning

Mushroom food poisoning is caused by muscarine, which is found in inedible mushrooms.

The most poisonous are toadstool (it is often confused with champignons), fly agaric, and satanic mushroom (it is mistaken for porcini mushroom).

Sometimes the cause of poisoning can be rotting products formed during the decomposition of proteins that edible mushrooms are rich in. This situation is typical for old or long-stored mushrooms.

Common symptoms of mushroom poisoning

The following symptoms are typical for all types of mushroom poisoning:

  • severe abdominal pain,
  • vomiting, possibly with blood,
  • nausea,
  • frequent, loose stools up to 20 times a day,
  • increase in body temperature,
  • convulsions,
  • coldness in the extremities, low blood pressure, weak pulse, loss of strength.

There are several types of poisoning depending on the types of fungi that caused them. For each type, along with the general ones, there are characteristic symptoms of mushroom poisoning.
Death cap

Toadstool poisoning

The first type includes poisoning with toadstool. Death from this fungus occurs in 90% of cases. This is due to the fact that poisoning can manifest itself after 2-3 days, or a temporary improvement in the second stage of poisoning is mistaken for recovery, and by this time the liver and kidneys are already irreversibly damaged.

The toxins contained in toadstool are not destroyed by any mushroom processing.

Symptoms of toadstool poisoning

Most often, within a few minutes after eating mushrooms, lacrimation, salivation, severe constriction of the pupils and sweating appear.

In addition, toadstool causes muscle pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and profuse, loose, cholera-like (often bloody) stools up to 25 times a day. The vomit resembles coffee grounds.

After 2-3 hours, jaundice appears due to liver damage.
Then a coma develops, and convulsions are possible. Poisoning can result in death within a few hours. After 6-24 hours, kidney damage develops. Mortality from poisoning exceeds 50%.

With proper treatment, recovery occurs within 24 hours.

Stages of poisoning by toadstool

Stage I develops within 6-24 hours after ingestion of poison.
The main signs are a sharp increase in temperature, attacks of nausea, vomiting, cramps in the stomach and intestines, frequent loose stools (possibly with blood elements). Stage II is a latent period that lasts about two to four days.
Symptoms subside at this time, giving the impression of beginning recovery. Stage III – irreversible consequences develop: liver and kidney tissues are affected, blood clotting is impaired, jaundice appears, liver damage occurs, and urination is impaired.
fly agaric Subsequently, convulsive syndrome and coma occur. Deterioration occurs quickly and acutely.

Fly agaric poisoning

The second type refers to fly agaric poisoning. Everyone knows the red and white color of these mushrooms, but sometimes the color of the cap can be different, which misleads mushroom pickers. Death is observed in 3% of cases and only with a large number of eaten fly agaric mushrooms.

Symptoms of fly agaric poisoning

The first signs of mushroom poisoning appear after 0.5–2 hours. In addition to the common signs of all poisonings, additional signs appear:

  • increased salivation,
  • lacrimation,
  • increased sweating,
  • constriction of the pupil,
  • severe bronchoconstriction and shortness of breath,
  • slow heartbeat,
  • pressure reduction,
  • convulsions,
  • disturbance of consciousness (hallucinations, delirium, coma).

Stitch poisoning

The third type is line poisoning. This mushroom is certainly poisonous in its raw form, but it is believed that when cooked, the toxins turn into a decoction. These mushrooms require mandatory double boiling and removal of the decoction. But not all toxins are removed. In many countries, the mushroom is classified as inedible. A few hours after consumption, symptoms of general poisoning develop. Death rate: 30%.

Symptoms of stitch poisoning

In addition to the general symptoms, convulsions, destruction of red blood cells in the blood (hemolysis), toxic damage to the liver (increase in size, jaundice), enlarged spleen, kidney damage and loss of consciousness appear.

Poisoning with conditionally poisonous mushrooms

The fourth type includes poisoning with conditionally edible mushrooms, which secrete milky juice and require pre-boiling.

The symptoms of this poisoning are mild, expressed by nausea, diarrhea and sometimes vomiting.

First aid for mushroom poisoning

Mushroom poisoning leads to serious conditions and requires immediate medical attention for any, even mild, poisoning. Every year people die because of a frivolous attitude towards this problem.

Before the ambulance arrives, it is necessary to carry out a number of activities that will help the body get rid of toxins.

What to do if you are poisoned by mushrooms:

  1. At the first signs of poisoning, you should try to cleanse the body - induce vomiting as soon as possible. To do this, you should drink a lot of water with salt. Then press on the root of the tongue to provoke a gag reflex.
  2. Take a sufficient amount of sorbent drugs, the dose is calculated depending on the drug and the patient’s weight. To reduce the amount of toxins in the blood and facilitate liver function.
  3. If there is no loose stool, take a laxative.
  4. Limit the patient's physical activity to reduce the rate at which toxins spread throughout the body.
  5. Apply heat to your hands and feet.
  6. Drink as much as possible. Often, in small portions. To prevent dehydration of the body, you need to replenish the body's salt balance, it is better to drink solutions purchased at the pharmacy, or make a solution at home: add a few tablespoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt and baking soda per liter of water.
  7. It is advisable to preserve the remaining mushrooms to accurately determine the cause of poisoning.

It is strictly prohibited when providing first aid:

  1. Give the patient medications containing alcohols. They enhance the absorption of poisons into the blood, after which accompanying symptoms appear that can develop at lightning speed.
  2. Do cleansing enemas. In the absence of diarrhea, there is no need to try to cleanse the contents of the intestines. The fact is that water (especially warm) can aggravate the situation by speeding up the process of absorption of poisons.
  3. Use medicinal tinctures that speed up digestive processes. This can cause severe poisoning, followed by death.
  4. Use medications that relieve diarrhea, relieve cramps, or dull the gag reflex. There is no need to interfere with the body’s ability to get rid of toxic substances on its own.

Treatment for mushroom poisoning

Identification of the fungus facilitates further treatment. Atropine is used as an antidote for muscarine poisoning. Additionally, glucose and sodium chloride are prescribed to prevent hypoglycemia due to liver damage. To treat spore poisoning that causes spasm of arterial vessels, amyl nitrite is used in a dose of 0.1 ml in the form of inhalations, nitroglycerin in a dose of 0.5 mg sublingually or papaverine in a dose of 30-60 mg intramuscularly.

Plant poisoning

Many wild and garden plants and shrubs (nightshade, some varieties of beans, nuts and chestnuts, etc.) contain toxic substances in their leaves and fruits.

The leaves and tubers of Brussels sprouts contain solanine, a substance that can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and weakness in those who are sensitive to it.

Consumption of yellow beans by susceptible individuals may cause the destruction of red blood cells in the blood.

Cereals can be affected by a fungus containing ergotamine

Poisoning with poisonous plants (roots, herbs, berries) occurs due to mixing them with edible ones and is accidental.
Infected wheat

Poisoning from grain products

Plant products (grain) during the cultivation process can become contaminated with the seeds of poisonous weeds. Eating foods contaminated with poisonous seeds can cause severe food poisoning.

  1. When eating products containing the seeds of heliotrope pubescent, which is found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, etc., a serious disease develops (heliotrope toxicosis), characterized by liver damage, jaundice, and in severe cases, dropsy of the abdomen (ascites) is observed.
  2. Food poisoning caused by the seeds of hoary trachodesma (found in Central
    Asia) causes a disease characterized by damage to the central nervous system and manifested by headaches, nausea, vomiting that does not bring relief, fever, and epileptic seizures.
  3. When consuming grain processing products contaminated with ergot, a disease develops (ergotism), which occurs in a convulsive (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramps) or gangrenous form (pain in the limbs, blue discoloration, necrosis of the fingers).
  4. Food poisoning due to contamination with grain containing Sophora. Accompanied by vomiting, nausea, weakness. Sometimes nerve-paralytic phenomena.
  5. Cockle seeds contain toxic substances that cause the destruction of red blood cells (erythrocytes).

Sprouted potatoes

Potato poisoning

If you store potatoes long enough in the open air during harvest in the fall, they accumulate a toxic substance, solanine. The same process starts in the spring, when potatoes sprout.

Normal, benign potatoes contain 2-11 mg% of solanine, and in sprouted potatoes its content reaches 500 mg% or more. Sprouted potatoes are dangerous to eat and can cause poisoning.

These potatoes become bitter. When you use it, you experience a scratching sensation in the throat. The concentration of solanine is especially high in sprouts, the skin around the sprouts and the adjacent potato pulp. Severe poisoning rarely occurs, only when eating large quantities of potatoes boiled with the skins on. More often, problems occur in people sensitive to solanine and in children.

Poisoning by fish and marine animals

In the water basins of Russia and neighboring countries there is no information about fish that have a toxic effect on humans.
But many fish inhabiting the Pacific Ocean and water basins near Florida and Western India accumulate toxic substances during their life activities. Some species of fish: pufferfish, common in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Yellow Sea, marinka - a fish found in the waters of Central Asia, kogak or Sevan chromuly from the carp family, caviar and milk have poisonous properties. Moreover, their meat is absolutely safe.

Fish poisoning may also be due to the accumulation of toxins in it. Large old fish are especially poisonous.

Symptoms of fish poisoning

Symptoms of poisoning appear several hours after eating.
Characteristic features are:

  • nausea,
  • vomit,
  • diarrhea,
  • skin itching,
  • numbness and tingling in the limbs,
  • headache,
  • muscle pain,
  • loss of temperature sensitivity.

Some of these symptoms can last up to several months, leaving the person unable to work.

Eating rotten fish may result in histamine poisoning.

Histamine is produced in large quantities during bacterial decomposition.

Poisoning causes

  • severe redness of the face,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting
  • pain in the epigastric region,
  • skin rashes.

Symptoms appear a few minutes after eating and last for several hours.

Symptoms of Shellfish Poisoning

During the summer months of the year, mussels, clams and oysters may contain a heat-stable neurotoxin.

Poisoning manifests itself

  • loss of sensitivity,
  • numbness and tingling of the extremities that occurs a few minutes after eating these shellfish,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • cramping pain in the abdomen,
  • muscle weakness ending in peripheral paralysis.

Death may occur due to respiratory arrest.

Poisoning with sausage, meat, lard

A special poison can begin to develop in sausage, salted pork, ham, canned meat, and meat. Often, the products look fresh and have no characteristic odor.

Signs of meat poisoning

  • Dizziness,
  • pain in the epigastric region,
  • nausea,
  • vomit,
  • rumbling in the stomach,
  • labored breathing,
  • dilation and immobility of the pupils
  • heart weakness.

Tobacco poisoning

The tobacco plant contains a very strong poison - nicotine. It slows down blood flow in the capillaries. During smoking and for half an hour after it, blood vessels contract convulsively. Thus, if a person smokes a cigarette every half hour, he keeps his blood vessels in constant spasm.

Nicotine irritates the adrenal glands, adrenaline is released into the blood, which causes vasoconstriction, increases blood pressure, and causes irreversible changes in the walls of blood vessels. Spasms of the venous arteries lead to angina pectoris. The number of heartbeats in a smoker is 15 thousand more than in a non-smoker. This leads to premature wear of the heart muscle.

Acute poisoning is rare. This happens if a person with a weakened immune system either smokes a lot of cigarettes or gets into a very smoky room. In this case, the person begins to choke and may lose consciousness.

The patient must be taken out into fresh air, sprinkled with water, and given ammonia to smell.

If a person smokes, he gets poisoned every day. It is especially harmful to smoke in the morning on an empty stomach. This leads to gastric and duodenal .

Poisoning with pesticides

When growing garden crops, as well as in orchards and vineyards, pesticides are used to control insect pests. Pesticides have the ability to accumulate in the body. Therefore, frequent consumption of fruits and berries containing small amounts of pesticides can lead to their accumulation and food poisoning.

Prevention of such food poisoning consists of repeatedly washing fruits and berries before eating them to remove residual amounts of pesticides.
Galvanized cookware

Poisoning with metal salts

During the process of cooking and processing products, metal compounds - copper, zinc, lead, tin, arsenic, etc. - can come from containers, utensils and equipment.

Mercury vapor poisoning is possible .

Copper gets into food from copper cookware that is poorly tinned. Copper poisoning causes diarrhea and vomiting.

Zinc, like copper, easily dissolves in organic food acids. Therefore, poisoning occurs when acidic foods (cabbage soup, compote, curdled milk) are stored in galvanized containers. In adults, zinc poisoning is easy, since it does not accumulate, and small amounts can cause abdominal pain, nausea and sometimes vomiting.

In children, zinc poisoning occurs in a severe form, since the children's body is especially sensitive to this metal.

Lead poisoning occurs mainly when using pottery pottery in everyday life, the glaze of which contains a significant amount of lead (40-60%), which easily passes into food. Constant use of such utensils can cause chronic lead poisoning. There is a fritted glaze that contains 12% lead.

Arsenic is a very toxic substance found in grain processing preparations and insecticides. The use of arsenic in such preparations is currently prohibited.

Treatment of food poisoning

In each case of poisoning, vomiting should be induced and the stomach should be rinsed if the patient did not vomit spontaneously.

Give the patient to drink 1-2 glasses of warm water, to which table salt has been added (½ teaspoon of salt per 1 glass of water). And induce vomiting by irritating the throat or root of the tongue. Repeat this procedure 5-6 times. After this, you need to take an absorbent, 3-4 tablets of activated carbon, lactofiltrum or enterosgel.

If the condition does not improve, put the patient in bed on his side and call an ambulance.

Apomorphine 0.005 g intramuscularly is used as an emetic in medicine. At the same time, a saline laxative is prescribed (for example, sodium sulfate in a dose of 15-30 g orally, previously dissolved in water). In case of severe vomiting, in order to prevent dehydration, it is necessary to drink solutions containing salts and dextrose. Solutions can be bought at the pharmacy or prepared yourself by adding 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 liter of water.

If signs of dehydration and collapse appear, intravenous infusions of saline solutions are used. If necessary, use artificial ventilation.

What can you eat and drink if you are poisoned?

In case of acute poisoning, it is useful to go on a starvation diet. In this case, you need to drink a lot of liquid - herbal teas, green and black tea, mineral water (without gases).

When acute symptoms stop, you can use a therapeutic diet 4 . In addition, it is recommended to use foods that remove toxins from the body.

  • Watermelon, cherry, pear, strawberry, zucchini, and walnuts should be eaten in any form.
  • Cranberry binds and removes radioactive elements and heavy metals.
  • Raspberries are recommended as an anti-inflammatory and detoxifying agent.
  • Beets accelerate the removal of toxins.
  • Fresh or dried lingonberries protect the kidneys and help restore intestinal microflora.
  • Red clover. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over a tablespoon of inflorescences, leave for 30 minutes, strain. Take the infusion to cleanse the body.

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The scientific information provided is general and cannot be used to make treatment decisions. There are contraindications, consult your doctor.