[eli5] What actually is food poisoning and what is happening in our bodies that make them respond so violently to it?



[eli5] What actually is food poisoning and what is happening in our bodies that make them respond so violently to it?

In: Biology

Its the norovirus. Tough bugger. You know that sanitizers saying it kills 99.9% The norovirus is that 0.1% You mostly get it from badly washed salad leaves


Food poisoning happens when you eat some bad bacteria living on/in your food. These bacteria (commonly staphylococcus aureus and bacillus cereus) make a toxin and spread that toxin all in your food. When you eat that toxin, your guts are like “this is a bad thing so let’s get rid of it” and your guts get rid of it with vomiting and diarrhea. The vomiting and diarrhea get rid of the bacteria and essentially clean you out.

Some bacterial diarrheas last longer but that’s because those bacteria can live in your guts and make their toxin instead of these food poisoning ones that make their toxin before you eat it.

Food poisoning is a catch-all term for bacteria and viruses that cause gastrointestinal problems. We associate them with food, but that’s not the only source. Generally anything contaminated with fecal matter or handled by someone already sick with whatever version of it can cause food poisoning. The physical mechanism that makes you sick varies with the cause.

I grew up on a dairy farm and would drink raw milk as a kid, had some VIOLENT shitting episodes

Then how does alcohol poisoning work?

Okay, so I’ll try to make this as ELI5 as I can.
Just imagine that you’ve kept a pot of water on the stove for it to boil. Now you go about doing your work, but when you come to the kitchen, you accidentally wind up touching the pot on the stove.

What happens then ? You instinctively and immediately pull your hand back. Because the heat from the pot hurt your hand. And your brain took less than a second to register this heat and realise that it’s bad and can burn you and told your hand to move away.

Similarly, some foods are bad for you (just like the boiling pot), and once your body realises they’re bad for you (which takes more time than moving your hand away from a boiling pot, because in this case, the threat is not immediate, so your brain and your gut takes some time to respond), it tries to expel the bad food out.

Now once something is in your stomach, it has only two possible ways to be expelled. Which are either pooping or puking. Which is basically what happens in “food poisoning”.

As far the “why do our bodies respond so violently to it?” part of the questions is concerned. Well, due to millions of years of evolution, your body (and almost everyone else’s) has learnt to tell the difference between good and bad stuff, and it’s so good at its job, that it even knows what bad stuff is really really bad and can harm you drastically if it stays in your body for too long.

So to prevent that from happening, your body tries to expel the “bad food” as soon as possible, which manifests as diarrhoea and vomiting.

Edit: typos