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  #1  
Old 05-25-2004, 06:24 PM
Plan B Plan B is offline
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How long does it take to get symptoms of food poisoning?

If I get cramps, etc. at 3 PM should I suspect it was caused by lunch? breakfast? last night's dinner?
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  #2  
Old 05-25-2004, 06:30 PM
Bippy the Beardless Bippy the Beardless is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plan B
If I get cramps, etc. at 3 PM should I suspect it was caused by lunch? breakfast? last night's dinner?
Hope this is a hypothetical question. Strangely enough I got food poisoning Monday before last, and did some research to try and work what of the previous few meals I should blame. The following sites were useful.
www.vdacs.state.va.us/foodsafety/poisoning.html
www.emedicinehealth.com/articles/17289-3.asp


In the end, I blamed the warmed yp Chicken Tikka Pastty I had the day before.
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  #3  
Old 05-25-2004, 06:37 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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It depends on a number of factors, the most important of which is the particular pathogen responsible; with some food poisoning bacteria, the onset of symptoms can occur within minutes (usually those where the illness is caused by toxins), with others, symptoms may not really kick in until 24 hours or more (usually those where the illness is caused by infection).

The only way to be sure is to visit the doctor, who will probably first try to establish that it really is food poisoning and not something like the Norovirus, then he might do tests to identify the pathogen, which in itself could well narrow down the likely avenue of infection.

Write down now everything you have eaten and drunk in the last 48 hours, before you forget.
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  #4  
Old 05-25-2004, 07:29 PM
Philster Philster is offline
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Keep in mind, it could very well be your own dirty hands that led to the 'food poisoning'.
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Old 05-25-2004, 07:42 PM
Plan B Plan B is offline
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Don't worry, I'm fine. It happened last week and was extremely mild compared to some of the stuff on the web site.

I know nothing about bacteria and viruses and naively thought that there was a simple answer like "two hour."

Thanks for the info.
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  #6  
Old 05-25-2004, 07:47 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Keep in mind, it could very well be your own dirty hands that led to the 'food poisoning'.
Or even your relatively clean hands; our bodies are crawling with bacteria at even the best of times; in order to cause food poisoning though, you have to ingest a large number of living bacteria or some food that has been contaminated by toxins they have made.

In order to build up to dangerous, food-poisoning levels, bacteria need four things:
-Food
-Moisture
-Warmth
-Time

Dipping your finger in some food, then returning it to the fridge will have introduced pathogenic bacteria (Staphylococcus Aureus, for example, which is all over your skin right now), but the low temperature in the fridge will not allow them to build to dangerous levels - eating the food later is not significantly more dangerous than putting your finger in your mouth.

Dipping your finger in some food, then leaving it out for a few hours at room temperature, on the other hand, could be a bad thing (although to be fair, there would probably already be some bacteria there in the food, without you introducing your finger), because the bacteria can rapidly reproduce in the warm conditions and either produce lots of nasty toxins, or build up sufficient weight of numbers to overwhelm your immune defences.
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Old 05-25-2004, 07:53 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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FWIW, the highest risk periods are when foods are cooling - the final third of the joint of beef that you'll be putting in the freezer, the pan of soup which you've served out of and will be freezing later, etc. The temperatures reached are in the region slightly above room temp., which are the ideal situation for bacterial growth. That's why you should (a) cover such food, even for a short period, to prevent airborne contamination, (b) don't let anyone dip fingers in etc., (c) get everything in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible. And this is also the reason for the 'reheat food thoroughly' message - if any nasties manage to find their way into the stored food, at least make sure you kill them off before tucking in.
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Old 05-25-2004, 07:57 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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That's right; if it takes more than 90 minutes to cool food down and put it in the refrigerator, you're doing it wrong (maybe it should be in smaller pieces or smaller, shallower pans, or the pans should be standing in a bath of cold water or ice etc.)
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  #9  
Old 05-25-2004, 09:26 PM
dwyr dwyr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
...Dipping your finger in some food, then returning it to the fridge will have introduced pathogenic bacteria (Staphylococcus Aureus, for example, which is all over your skin right now), but the low temperature in the fridge will not allow them to build to dangerous levels - eating the food later is not significantly more dangerous than putting your finger in your mouth.

Actually, while some percentage of people are Staphylococcus aureus carriers (usually it's in the nares) most people have harmless Staphylococcus epidermidis on their skin. S. epidermidis colonization of the skin largely prevents S. aureus from gaining a foothold, so to speak.
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  #10  
Old 05-25-2004, 10:22 PM
whatami whatami is offline
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From the food safety class that I took, the majority of food illness (or illness contractable from poorly stored/and or cooked/reheated food take between 24-36 hours. Some take a little longer, like botulism.
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  #11  
Old 05-26-2004, 10:24 AM
Bippy the Beardless Bippy the Beardless is offline
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Since it is related, I'll mention what I learnt about rehydrating yourself after food poisoning. The walgreen pharmasist will suggest you get the baby rehydration drink from the baby section. Indeed that is probably perfect for rehydrating, except the stuff tastes foul. Gatorade produces several flavors of muneral and vitamin drinks which have similar salt and glucose levels that is much nicer to drink. The Gatorade doesn't have the minor mineralsthat the baby drink had, but for an adult with non dangerous dehydration levels the gatorade was much prefferable.
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  #12  
Old 05-26-2004, 05:57 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
That's right; if it takes more than 90 minutes to cool food down and put it in the refrigerator
This sounds like you are saying that food needs to be 'cooled down' somehow before being put into the refrigerator.

That is not recommended any more. Now the experts say the safest method is to put food into the refrigerator right after the meal, without waiting for it to cool down. Bacteria are mostly controlled at hot (cooking/eating) temps, and at cold (refrigerator/freezer) temps. It's that warm period in between when they reproduce wildly and can lead to food poisoning.

My mother used to 'cool down' food by leaving it sit on the counter, just like grandmother did. The reason given was that putting it into the icebox still hot would melt away all the ice, and make everything in there warm up. That was probably true back in 'icebox' days, but modern refrigerators can handle this. It may cost you a bit more in electricity to run the refrigerator, but that's much preferable to a bout of food poisoning.

I think anyone who's ever suffered from one will agree. I certainly remember sitting on the toilet holding a bucket, suffering cramps while both ends of my digestive system were emptying themselves. Not something I ever want to repeat!
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  #13  
Old 05-26-2004, 06:07 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net
This sounds like you are saying that food needs to be 'cooled down' somehow before being put into the refrigerator.

That is not recommended any more. Now the experts say the safest method is to put food into the refrigerator right after the meal, without waiting for it to cool down. Bacteria are mostly controlled at hot (cooking/eating) temps, and at cold (refrigerator/freezer) temps. It's that warm period in between when they reproduce wildly and can lead to food poisoning.
Sorry, but cooking large pots of soups and stews for the SCA feasts, I use a cooling paddle to get them down in temperature fast, then put it into the fridge. WHen you are making 5 gallons of something, it is pretty hard to cool it in the fridge otherwise from the sheer thermal mass you are deling with. I have occasionally made an impromptu one out of a de-labled and washed empty 3 liter soda bottle.

I have seen a pot of pea soup still almost body temp after 4 hours in a walkin at 35 degrees fahrenheit. Definitely not food safe to eat.
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  #14  
Old 05-26-2004, 06:18 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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I got food poisoning one Xmas, a few years back.

It was so severe that I had to be taken to the ER by ambulance. "Projectile vomiting" is a cliche, but I hit the wall, 5 feet away.

The only warning I had was a vague sense of unease, & a little gas.
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