While most foodborne illnesses are simple enough to cure with medication or plenty of rest combined with fluids, complications can occur during the healing process. Sometimes individual symptoms develop and cause entirely new issues. These are some of the more common complications.
Hemolytic-uremic syndrome is an illness caused by food poisoning. The contraction of certain foodborne illnesses leads to infection of the liver, as well as other parts of the digestive system. An infection can cause the release of harmful toxins that destroy red blood cells. The destruction of these cells leads to kidney damage, which can develop into full-blown kidney failure. This syndrome is most common among children.
Salmonella-based illnesses can result in UTIs and joint pain. This pain can last anywhere from weeks to years. Sometimes the reaction of the joints leads to a case of chronic arthritis, causing a lifetime of after-effects of the food poisoning.
Some foodborne illnesses may lead to the contraction of meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain. Contracting such an illness can often, namely in babies, lead to mental retardation, seizures, paralysis, blindness, or deafness.
Food poisoning can result in death when more serious illnesses develop from the foodborne ones. It can also occur when symptoms go untreated and cause dehydration, which leads to further complications.
While some cases of food poisoning go away by themselves within a short period of time, that is no cause to treat the illness lightly. It is very important to seek medical help if you or a loved one has developed any of the symptoms of foodborne illness, just to be cautious, even if medications are not needed. For more information on how to identify developing illnesses and how to get treatment, consult FoodSafety.org.