Monthly Archives: February 2014

Food Poisoning and Rice, do you know who to balme?


Saturday night’s take away can often look appealing on a Sunday morning, especially if you’ve had a late night! For those of you that can’t resist reheating this tempting cuisine it can often lead to severe stomach cramps, sickness and diarrhoea. We are quick to blame last night’s ale or the meat from our favourite Takeaway. Well, here’s the surprise, your bout of food poising is probably from your rice!  

The food poisoning bacteria Bacillu cereus is naturally found in cereals such as rice.  Washing rice will not help avoid the potential problem and surprisingly neither does cooking! 

How is food poisoning caused? 

Bacillus cereus bacteria are heat resistant. They survive cooking by forming protective spores. This is basically like a heat resistant jacket that the bacteria like to wear in unfavourable conditions. When the temperature conditions are again favourable (for example rice is left on your kitchen work surface for a prolonged period of time), the spores germinate, or take off their protective jackets, and Bacillus bacteria are released into the food, now able to grow and multiply.

As the Bacillus bacteria multiply in your rice, they produce a waste product which is poisonous to us (called an exotoxin). This toxin is heat stable, and therefore, even if the rice is thoroughly reheated before consumption, it will still be present in the food.  The poison affects the upper gastrointestinal tract and the consequences of eating food containing the toxin are that we shall experience abdominal cramps and vomiting within 1 to 5 hours after eating, with the symptoms lasting 6 to 24 hours.

This is not the only danger with rice – it can have a ‘double whammy’ effect.  If the Bacillus bacteria are eaten whole i.e. the food is not piping hot before consumption, the bacteria are broken down in our intestines where they release another type of poison (called an endo toxin).   The effects of this toxin take around 8-12 hours after eating to take effect, and the symptoms are mainly stomach pain and diarrhoea.  Symptoms last 1-2 days.

So, in short, eat your rice as soon as it’s cooked. Never reheat rice and don’t leave your take away out at room temperature!

For further information and advice on Food safety why not come along to one of our courses?



First Aid treatment for cardiac arrest


Keeping to our heart theme for this week, we promised you some advice on dealing with First Aid situations. All of us are familiar with the term CPR but how many of us know what is it, why we do it or even how to do it?

according to the British Heart Foundation only one third of cardiac arrest victims actually receive CPR, and this is mainly due to a lack of First Aid training, knowledge and above all, confidence.

CPR is the acronym for cardio pulmonary resuscitation. This is the action you need to take when the heart stops. Unless someone starts CPR within a few minutes permanent damage can be caused to the brain and other major organs as the oxygenated blood is no longer being pumped around the body, and this can, of course, lead to death.

If you suspect your casualty has gone into cardiac arrest check for breathing. If you cannot hear normal breathing you must call 999 or 112 then start CPR.

Clasp your hands together. Keep your knuckles upwards facing your chest and lock your elbows. Push down on the centre of the chest about 5-6cm. Push hard and fast, 100-120 beats per minute. This is what we call “hands only” CPR. This is to be used when you have not been trained to give rescue breaths. Keep going and don’t stop until the emergency services arrive.

Trained First Aiders should give full CPR to include rescue breaths.

If you would like to know more or are interested in learning CPR have a look at our courses.

The importance of First Aid when dealing with cardiac arrest


According to the West Midlands Ambulance Service 2012/2013 data, survival rates for patients suffering cardiac arrest currently stand at 10.1%. Shocking you may think, but is the fault of our highly trained and professional emergency responders? The answer is no, definitely not!

The reason for such low survival rates is due to the lack of awareness and understanding of general First Aid procedures from us, the public. If more of us were given the opportunity to train and practice cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) these grim statistics could be dramatically improved.

Contrary to popular belief a heart attack and cardiac arrest is NOT the same thing. A heart attack can be identified by recognising early symptoms, a pain in the left arm, chest pain, or in some, a mild discomfort. Heart attack is commonly confused with indigestion, but never again! It is caused by a lack of blood flow and oxygen to an area of the heart muscle; however, if this is not treated urgently a heart attack can, but not always, lead to cardiac arrest, where the heart stops completely. If this happens, the casualty will lose consciousness immediately and there will be no other signs of life.

If this happens you need to respond quickly. Call 112! You know you will need a defibrillator. Start CPR. The sooner CPR is started the better your casualty’s chance of survival. For every minute that goes by where CPR is not administered your casualty’s survival rate decreases by 10%.

Would you know what to do if this happened to someone you love? For further information on our First Aid courses please see First Aid courses