Eggs are a popular breakfast food, and they make up a key component of other dishes, such as quiche and many desserts. While eggs carry a high nutritional value, they are also highly perishable. If contaminated with bacteria, eggs will trigger a case of food poisoning, causing abdominal cramps and other discomfort.
Process of Egg Contamination
Even when an egg's shell is unbroken, bacteria such as salmonella may be present, setting the stage for a case of food poisoning. A hen lays eggs through the same part of her body that eliminates waste, and this makes it possible for bacteria to be on the uncracked shell of an egg. Eggs also may become contaminated because of bacteria inside the hen's ovary. This can taint an egg before the shell forms.
Egg Food Poisoning Signs and Symptoms
Food poisoning caused by bad eggs will result in symptoms similar to other forms of food poisoning. The general list of potential ailments includes nausea and headache. Specific symptoms will vary, depending on what contaminated the bad eggs. For example, eating eggs that have been tainted by salmonella may trigger stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever and vomiting that last from two to seven days. The symptoms may appear within six to 48 hours after eating contaminated eggs. Another type of contaminant, staphylococcus aureus, will cause stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that last a day or two, with the symptoms surfacing up to eight hours after eating. Other potential signs of food poisoning include trouble with speaking or swallowing, paralysis that spreads through the body, bloody diarrhea, chills, body aches and vision problems, such as seeing double or a sudden inability to see clearly.
Treatment and Prevention
Seek medical attention quickly if you experience severe symptoms. Otherwise, keeping yourself hydrated is an important part of the treatment for food poisoning caused by eggs. Sip water or other drinks to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. You might also consider taking an over-the-counter medication to ease the symptoms of diarrhea or settle an upset stomach. To avoid food poisoning caused by bad eggs, you should always buy eggs from a refrigerated dairy case, take them home right away and keep them refrigerated. Stay away from any eggs that are out-of-date or have cracked shells. When preparing food, keep raw eggs separate from other foods and thoroughly cook eggs before eating them.