Reactive Arthritis from Food Poisoning
What is it?
An infection from in the Staphylococcus aureus can trigger an inflammatory response in the joints. This indirect inflammatory response after a bacterial infection is called reactive arthritis.
In reactive arthritis, the joint itself is not inflected. Reactive arthritis most commonly targets your knees and the joints in your ankles and feet. Other affected areas of the body can include eyes, urethra, and skin
Staphylococcus aureus is the most common bacteria causing reactive arthritis. Infections from Shigella, Yersinia, Chlamydia, Campylobacter, and Clostridium difficile can also cause reactive arthritis.
Right now, your hands are carrying thousands of bacteria, like Staphylococcus aureus. Food prepared by unwashed hands can lead to the food being contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus.
Even though heating food kills the bacteria, the toxins produced by some bacteria are left unaffected. Toxins from Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria can cause the violent illness associated with “a bad bout of food poisoning.”
According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, symptoms of reactive arthritis will usually begin “one to four weeks after exposure to a triggering infection”. Symptoms include the following: pain and stiffness in affected joints, conjunctivitis (pink-eye), discomfort urinating, inflammation of muscles and connective tissue, and swollen appendages.
The CDC claims reactive arthritis typically lasts no longer than twelve months but can lead to chronic arthritis.
Avoid eating foods that have been sitting out at room temperature for long periods of time like salad (eggs, tuna, and potato salads). As a general rule of thumb, two hours is the maximum amount of time food can sit out at room temperature. Always wash your hands before preparing food and avoid eating at establishments where hygiene practices are questionable.
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