Who is the most vulnerable to food poisoning?
In general, the most sensitive categories of food poisoning are primarily children and the elderly. Certainly, these categories can be joined by people with chronic diseases, weakened immune systems and pregnant women.
It has been shown in several cases of food poisoning (e.g. E. coli) that affected children aged between 4 months and 12 years and most cases were among children aged 4 years. Food poisoning signs are quite readily apparent in the children population because children do not have established immunity.
It is not yet fully understood why it’s happening in children’s population. According to one theory, children have fields in their large intestines that bind the bacteria, while in adults the areas were closed. Based on this view, it can be explained why the elderly are at enlarged risk of food poisoning. In old age these fields can be reopened and expose organism to certain bacteria.
There are also some other theories of why children are most exposed to food poisoning. Everyone is exposed to certain bacteria, so children develop so called ‘symptomatic illness’ at the time of first exposure before developing a kind of immunity that protects the rest of life.
Another explanation is that children are also more exposed to contaminated food from adults. Behavior of children is perhaps the key factor in considering this aspect of food poisoning. Children often tend to eat food dropped to the floor or on the outside of the dish from which they eat, and that is mostly filled with different types of bacteria.
Parents should be aware that dishes and cutlery, which are used for feeding children, are full of bacteria and must be sterilized with each use to avoid unwanted health problems.
Are we putting natural immunity at risk?
Research shows that trying to get rid of the bacteria from our lives we put at risk our immunity. The assumption is that a thorough cleaning of our immediate surroundings, using various means such as anti-bacterial pillows, special soaps, anti-bacterial cleaners, subtracts from children in growth the stimulus necessary to test and create their immune system.
If we are not exposed to a wide range of bacteria and various micro-organisms at an early age, our defense mechanism will have limited response to bodily threats. In practice, the more we isolate ourselves from the surrounding, the more vulnerable and sickly we might become.
Why are elderly at higher risk of food poisoning?
One of the assumptions of why the older organism is at higher risk of food poisoning is that the elderly secrete less stomach acid when consuming food and stomach acid is one of the tools used by the body to fight bacteria in entered food. Generally, immunity declines progressively with age.
Senses of smell and taste weak with age and thus increases the possibility of eating spoiled food and endangering the health of older people. Wide range of economic and social reasons can also be a cause of increased exposure by food poisoning of the elderly population.