According to statistics, 1 in every 6 Americans will experience a food-borne illness at some point or another in their lives. Each year more than 48 million illnesses are triggered due to food-borne pathogens in the United States alone. More than 128,000 hospitalizations occur each year in the US due to food-borne illnesses and pathogens in food. A total of $77.7 billion is approximately spent annually to cover care, losses and deaths from the impact of food-borne illnesses and disease.
Who is at Risk of Food-Born Illnesses?
Although food-borne illnesses can occur in just about anyone who comes in contact with contaminated food, older adults, pregnant women and individuals who have chronic illnesses are often more susceptible to getting extremely ill from food-borne illnesses.
Signs of a Food-Borne Illness
Not all food-born illnesses show the same signs, but it is essential to know how to identify them if you believe you may need medical assistance or treatment yourself. Some of the most common symptoms experienced with a food-borne illness includes vomiting and diarrhea along with abdominal pains, fever and chills.
If you are dealing with a more infectious form of a food-borne illness such as C. botulinum, other symptoms may include having a chronic headache, tingling and numbness of the skin and even blurred vision. You may also experience paralysis, dizziness and a general sense of weakness if you are dealing with a more serious food-borne illness or parasite.
How to Avoid Food-Borne Illnesses
Because 8 out of 10 of all cases of food-borne illnesses occur in a commercial setting, shopping on your own and cooking in your home kitchen is highly recommended to drastically reduce your chances of getting sick from possible contaminants and bacteria. It is also essential to wash your hands before handling raw foods and meats, during and afterwards each time you are in the kitchen. Always use disinfectant sprays or wipes to clean your kitchen after each meal you prepare and cook. It is also important to regularly sanitize all equipment and tools or accessories you use each time you cook in your kitchen.
Separating cooked and raw foods is also necessary to keep bacteria from finding its way to food that is already cooked and ready to be eaten. Being aware of your surroundings any time you eat or are cooking will help to greatly reduce the risks of getting a food-borne illness yourself.