For some folks, there is nothing better than eating a fat, juicy steak or a rack of pork ribs. But meat-eaters should be vigilant about the quality of their food and its preparation as there is a chance it might be contaminated with bacteria. That can lead to a case of food poisoning, a form of illness that wreaks havoc with your digestive system.
Causes of Food Poisoning
Bacteria, viruses and other substances can taint meat and cause food poisoning in anyone who consumes it. Most commonly, the problem is a form of bacteria, such as salmonella, Clostridium perfringens or E. coli. Bacteria often are found on raw meat, but food poisoning generally can be avoided if you prevent the number of bacteria from growing through cooking and avoid re-contaminating meat by accidentally spreading bacteria.
Symptoms and Signs of Meat Food Poisoning
The most common symptoms of food poisoning induced by bad meat include stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Other symptoms include chills, headache, fever and blood in the stool. The specific signs can vary, depending on the specific cause of the meat contamination. For example, eating meat contaminated with E. coli can cause a case of diarrhea in which there is a lot of blood but not much stool. Eating meat with botulism can result in problems with speaking or swallowing. It also can trigger a case of paralysis that spreads throughout the body, affecting your ability to breathe and potentially causing respiratory failure. Other signs of meat food poisoning may include body aches and vision problems, such as seeing double or a sensitivity to light. Symptoms may surface anywhere from 30 minutes to four weeks after eating contaminated meat, but they usually show up within 12 to 72 hours.
Typically, a person with food poisoning does not need medical attention, but there are exceptions. You should seek immediate medical care if you experience severe symptoms, including vomiting that lasts for more than 12 hours or problems with breathing. A health care provider can prescribe drugs, such as antibiotics, or pump the toxins out of your stomach if necessary. For milder instances of food poisoning, including cases caused by bad meat, a crucial part of the treatment is to stay hydrated. Drink water and other beverages to help eliminate toxins and to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. You can also take over-the-counter medications that are specifically formulated to ease the discomfort of diarrhea and an upset stomach.