Singaporean Gastroenterologists Share Tips On How To Identify And Deal With Food Poisoning

Singaporean Gastroenterologists Share Tips On How To Identify And Deal With Food Poisoning  undefined

Recently, an unbelievable amount of food poisoning cases have appeared throughout Singapore. An outbreak that lasted the whole of November led to over 400 people being affected. Many of them were hospitalised for severe symptoms.

What's even more terrifying is that while the lapse in food hygiene could be one cause, the scale and proximity of the incidences are pointing to something more; such as a bug or contaminated source.

Numerous food places are being investigated for less-than-satisfactory hygiene conditions. For instance, poor kitchen habits at FoodTalks led to 131 cases of gastroenteritis symptoms, while 315 cases of gastroenteritis symptoms were linked to Mandarin Orchard Hotel.

food poisoning singapore

Many Singaporeans are now fearful that they might end up spending their end-of-year holidays in the hospital. Thus, it's important to take precautions and be extra careful about where you celebrate and what you eat to stay safe!

Here are some tips from experienced gastroenterologists from the DxD community that may be able to help you identify and deal with possible digestion-related ailments.

Experiencing food poison-like symptoms? It could be a food intolerance

food poisoning singapore

Dr Jarrod Lee, a gastroenterologist, noted that if you noticed a drastic change in your digestion over time that leads to: to indigestion, stomach discomfort and nausea after eating certain foods, your symptoms could be linked to food intolerance and not food poisoning. [1]

This condition is caused by the inability to digest and absorb certain food substances. Studies have shown that changing your diet is the most effective way for improving symptoms.

Food intolerance can be tricky to manage

Even before we talk about food poisoning, food intolerance in and of itself can be difficult to manage. Many patients aren't able to identify what food substances they are intolerant of on their own. [2]

Furthermore, as they age, people can become intolerant to foods that could have been easily digested before.

There are two common types of food intolerance

food intolerance singapore

Lactose and fructose intolerance are the most common. You can go for a hydrogen/methane breath testing to help identify which food intolerance type you fall into. [3]

Apart from that, other types of intolerance can be identified through a low FODMAP diet, which needs to be done under the guidance of a specialist dietitian.

Keep an eye on urine and stool colour

urine and stool colour food poisoning singapore

If you start passing deep black stool or if your urine is deepening to an almost tea-like colour, you should seek professional help as this indicates severe complications in your digestive system.

Similarly, if you're experiencing other extreme symptoms like vomiting and unexplained weight loss, it's time to get yourself checked!

Gastric flu and food poisoning may present similar symptoms

Gastric flu singapore

At times, it can be a little difficult to identify food poisoning. A DxD reader complained of fever, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and vomiting for 2 whole days and wanted to know how to distinguish between stomach flu or food poisoning.

According to a gastroenterologist, Dr Quan Wai Leong, they both present similar symptoms.

Gastric flu tends to present more fever, nausea and vomiting while food poisoning is associated more with ingestion of contaminated food that causes cramps and diarrhoea. It’s best to visit a doctor immediately for a full evaluation.

You should always stay hydrated

drink water 

In any case, whether it's a bug, food poisoning or gastric flu, vomiting, and diarrhoea can prove to be dangerous if you aren't well hydrated.

If you're making way too many trips to the bathroom, you must remember to keep drinking water to restore the fluids that are leaving your body at such a rapid pace.

Antibiotics may be prescribed for suspected bacterial infections

antibiotics food poisoning singapore

A course of antibiotics may be required in order to manage your condition if your doctor suspects a bacterial infection, especially if the fever you're having is associated with bloodstained stools. [4]

Avoid dairy products for a while

avoid dairy products food intolerance singapore

If you begin experiencing stomach-related issues that correlate with food-poisoning symptoms, Dr Quan suggests that it's best you avoid dairy products as they may only worsen the condition.

It's also best that you take smaller portions of each meal so your compromised digestive system isn't overloaded at any given time.

Fruit juices might be a good idea

fruit juice singapore

Consider drinking fruit juices in order to replenish the electrolytes in your system. They should be extracted from fresh and genuine fruits for better effect.

If your condition is not getting any better after 2-3 days, consider seeing your GP for an assessment.

Stay vigilant

Food poisoning and food-related illnesses can be more than just a minor nuisance and spending long periods in the bathroom after a wonderful meal at a supposedly famous/popular restaurant can really be no fun.

Stay vigilant and don’t disregard the possibility of this happening to you. Take the advice of these medical professionals and seek assistance if you think you may have fallen victim.


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References: 

 1. https://web.archive.org/web/20110303025929/http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/foodborneinfections_g.htm

 2. http://www.innovativelab.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Food-Print-8PP-DL-2.pdf

 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5418558/

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5124968/

3074 views 26 Dec 2018 Medically reviewed by Dr Jarrod Lee on 19 Mar 2019.
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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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