INSIGHTS INTO TUMMY BUGS

With the recent outbreak of Typhoid Fever, it is an ideal opportunity to learn how to differentiate between different tummy upsets; so let’s get rolling! 

ABOUT THE TERM “FOODBORNE ILLNESS” 

Food is not your foe, but rather the germs that live on the food. Food contaminated with germs may lead to conditions such as Food Poisoning and Typhoid Fever, both falling into this category of foodborne illness.  

IS TYPHOID FEVER AND FOOD POISONING THE SAME CONDITION? 

The question that seems to be popping up regularly these days is whether Typhoid Fever and Food Poisoning is the same thing? 

Although there might be some similarities in terms of symptoms, it is not the same condition. 

Typhoid Fever is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi. This is not the same bacteria that causes Salmonella Food Poisoning, but they are related. 

Unlike Food Poisoning, Typhoid Fever can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs. 

Food poisoning only affects the gastrointestinal tract and is also a lot shorter in duration, and presents symptoms quite fast, between 2 to 6 hours after exposure. 

IS TYPHOID FEVER SERIOUS? 

It is very important to note that, without prompt treatment, Typhoid Fever may lead to very serious complications, and can even be fatal. 

IS TYPHOID FEVER CONTAGIOUS? 

Yes, Typhoid Fever is unfortunately very contagious. An infected person can pass the bacteria out of their body in their excretions.  

Should another person eat food or drink water that’s been contaminated with such infected excretions, they are likely to become infected. 

WHAT ARE THE MAIN SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TYPHOID FEVER? 

The most common signs and symptoms include: 

  • Persistent fever 
  • Headache 
  • Bodily tenderness 
  • Severe fatigue 
  • Tummy ache 
  • Diarrhoea or constipation 

AND THEN THERE IS STOMACH FLU 

Stomach Flu is caused by a virus, with the norovirus and rotavirus being the most common culprits. 

While food poisoning is caused by coming into contact with mishandled food, stomach viruses are typically caused by coming into contact with someone who is already infected. You can get a stomach virus if you share food or utensils with an individual who has the illness or through contaminated surfaces they have touched.  

Compared to Food Poisoning, the onset of Stomach Flu is a bit longer post-exposure, averaging between 12 to 48 hours. Stomach Flu may also be accompanied by body aches, whereas Food Poisoning is not likely to cause overall body pain.  

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE 

In terms of tummy bugs, here are the top-10 tips to keep everyone at your table safe: 

  1. Wash your hands well, and wash them often 
  2. Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods 
  3. Cook food thoroughly 
  4. Promptly refrigerate and freeze food 
  5. Keep hot food hot, and eat it within 2 hours 
  6. Keep cold food cold, and keep it sealed in tight containers 
  7. Wash cutting boards, surfaces and utensils with soap and hot water after each use 
  8. Wash fruits and vegetables before you peel or cut them 
  9. Keep pets, household cleaners, and other chemicals away from food and surfaces used for food 
  10. Do not consume food or beverages while preparing food 

MANAGING TUMMY BUGS 

Many tummy upsets are self-limiting and may not require treatment. Typhoid Fever is an exception to the rule, where antibiotics would be required. Oral rehydration is also of utmost importance, along with other supportive measures such as probiotics, ionic colloidal silver and activated charcoal. 

Ionic colloidal silver has successfully been used for centuries in the management of gastrointestinal conditions thanks to its dual anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory action. 

To find out how Silverlab’s Colloidal Silver can assist you and your family with gastric upsets, visit the gastrointestinal category on the Silverlab website https://www.silverlab.co.za/products/intestinal-health/ 

Should symptoms of any gastrointestinal condition not improve, or should they deteriorate, immediately contact a healthcare provider.  

Remember to always contact your local health department if you think you or someone you know became ill from eating a certain food from a restaurant or retail outlet. 

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