Vegetables, fruits and berries make up a significant part of a healthy diet. Everyone knows about their benefits to the body. But can they cause disease? Unfortunately, like other foods, they can cause food poisoning.
Watermelons are among the products whose poisoning is not uncommon. Why does this tasty berry become poisonous? How dangerous is excess nitrogen fertilizer, can you get poisoned with watermelon without nitrates, and what are the symptoms of the disease? Let's find out.
Causes of watermelon poisoning
Good, high-quality watermelon is absolutely safe for health. Watermelon poisoning can occur for two reasons.
- Increased nitrate levels caused by improper use of nitrogen fertilizers. Fertilizers of this type can accumulate in the soil, turn into groundwater, concentrate in agricultural products, mainly in greens, cucumbers and watermelons. Nitrogen contributes to the growth of green mass, so they are widely used to stimulate plant growth. In humans, nitrates become more toxic nitrites. The same process can be observed directly in the watermelon with improper storage.
- Poisoning from watermelon, which as a result of integrity and long-term or improper storage has accumulated harmful microorganisms. Watermelon pulp contains a large amount of nutrients, including easily digestible sugars, which are an excellent medium for fermenting microorganisms.
Symptoms of watermelon poisoning
In case of poisoning with watermelon, the symptoms develop 2–6 hours after eating it. These include:
- nausea, less vomiting;
- diarrhea (up to 10–15 times a day);
- abdominal pain, cramps;
- dizziness, headaches;
- temperature rise.
In severe cases of watermelon poisoning, symptoms indicate a violation of cardiac activity: a drop in blood pressure, heart palpitations, shortness of breath. Nitrites interfere with the transfer of oxygen by blood and tissue respiration. Under their influence, the vessels dilate, which further aggravates the state of hypoxia (lack of oxygen). There is blueing of the lips, the nail bed. Seizures may occur. With a high concentration of nitrates, possibly a strong defeat of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines, the appearance of blood in the stool (stool gets a chocolate almost black tint). Also a threatening sign is the yellowness of the proteins of the eyes, which indicates liver damage.
First aid and treatment
With a mild disease, you can cope with it at home. What to do when watermelon poisoning in the first place? Take measures to remove the poison from the body and neutralize it in the intestine.
- Rinse the stomach. To do this, drink a large amount of warm salted water or a weak pink solution of potassium permanganate, then provoke vomiting. Repeat the procedure once or twice until clean water comes out.
- After cleansing the stomach take enterosorbents - drugs that neutralize poisons in the intestinal lumen. This may be activated carbon, Polysorb MP, Enterosgel, Smekta.
- To stimulate the elimination of toxins in the urine, as well as to prevent dehydration, it is necessary to drink as much fluid as possible.
- After the cessation of nausea, drink sweet tea with lemon.
- Do not take painkillers and antidiarrheals - they mask the true state of the body and prevent the removal of toxins from the intestines.
In the event of threatening symptoms: vomiting, severe persistent diarrhea, cardiovascular dysfunction, clouding of consciousness — you should seek medical help.
Treatment of nitrate poisoning in the hospital includes the neutralization of methemoglobin, oxygen therapy, the use of heart drugs and hepatoprotectors for the liver.
Watermelon poisoning in a child
Watermelon poisoning in a child is more difficult than in adults. In children, a small amount of blood, underdeveloped detoxification mechanisms, dehydration is rapidly occurring. Children under one year old are not recommended to give watermelon in principle; this product should also not be abused by nursing mothers, since nitrates easily pass into breast milk. Older babies are given watermelon in small quantities - 100–150 grams.
Symptoms of watermelon poisoning can occur within two days after eating it. Just like adults, children react with nausea and vomiting, diarrhea. In severe cases, the lips and nails turn blue, cardiopulmonary insufficiency develops. Often, the symptoms in children resemble toxic pneumonia.
If signs of poisoning appear, the following measures should be taken:
- induce vomiting, giving the child one of the solutions: warm salt (2–4 tsp. salt per cup of water), mustard (1–2 tsp. powder per cup of warm water), weak soap (give about a quarter cup);
- vomiting not cause, if there is a violation of consciousness;
- children older than five years, flush the stomach - to give a large amount of fluid, then force to pull;
- water the child with mineral water without gas or with special solutions such as “Regidron” (in small portions so as not to cause vomiting again);
- give any enterosorbent;
- make an enema.
You should not give painkillers to the child (they mask surgical diseases), but if you have strong cramps, you can use “No-silo".
If within 2 hours the condition of the child has not improved, then you need to consult a doctor.
Watermelon poisoning during pregnancy
Watermelon is useful in pregnancy - it contains water, light sugars, trace elements and vitamins. Its use removes nausea, eliminates constipation, heartburn, contributes to less swelling of the legs. Pregnant women should not eat watermelon with black bread, as well as with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
If watermelon poisoning occurred during pregnancy , what to do in this case? You need to take steps to provide first aid and consult a doctor. The main danger for the fetus is the state of lack of oxygen, for the mother - the thickening of the blood, which can lead to thrombosis. It is necessary to monitor the replenishment of fluid in the body.
Prevention of watermelon poisoning
To avoid poisoning, you need to adhere to some rules.
- Before cutting the watermelon, it should be washed with warm water and soap, and then rinsed with boiling water.
- Do not cut watermelons when buying, so as not to bring microbes into it.
- The color of the pulp quality watermelon - from pink to red. Yellow streaks and white seals, bluish color - signs of chemicals.
- The structure of the normal pulp - with grains, sparkles on the cut. Suspicious flesh is smooth, streaked, fibrous.
- If you put a piece of pulp in the water, it will just grow dim. If chemicals are present, the water will turn pink.
- Sliced watermelon stored in the refrigerator no more than a day.
- Nitrates and nitrites accumulate in large quantities in the peel and in the pulp under it. Therefore, do not eat the pulp directly at the peel.
It should also be borne in mind that the chances of poisoning watermelon with nitrates are much higher in July (early harvest), and at the end of the season more likely to suffer from fermented berries.
So, we found out whether it is possible to get poisoned by watermelon and why it happens. If the degree of the disease is mild, treatment can be carried out at home. To do this, you need to clear the stomach of food, take chelators and replace the loss of fluid. If there is a violation of cardiac activity, clouding of consciousness, convulsions - you should immediately contact an ambulance.