Food poisoning occurs when you eat contaminated food. This is most likely to happen after eating meat, egg or dairy products that contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli.
If you have food poisoning, you are likely to experience at least one of the following unpleasant symptoms of nausea, upset stomach, diarrhoea, chills, vomiting and fever.
This is in contrast to a food intolerance or a food allergy, which is specific to certain people due to lack of enzymes or hormones in the body and causes their immune system to respond to the food or substance negatively. For instance, an allergic reaction to food can cause a person to break out in hives or to have difficulty breathing.
Drugs, even anti-nausea or anti-diarrhoea drugs, are virtually useless against food poisoning, which is essentially a bacterial infection. Read below to learn what you can do to help ease these symptoms.
Stay hydrated. The effects of food poisoning will dehydrate you and make you feel worse. Drink water and other liquids but avoid caffeine, which acts as a diuretic and will prompt you to urinate more frequently. Drink only clear liquids, such as chicken or vegetable broth. The clearer the liquid, the more water it contains. Your goal is to replace the liquids you have lost through diarrhoea or vomiting.
Eat. You will likely not want to, because you will not feel well, but you must eat to keep your energy up. Eat dry foods such as dry toast or crackers. The blander the food is, the more likely you will be able to keep it down. Do not eat spicy foods or fruit, which wil be difficult to digest while you are ill.
Take some probiotic supplements or eat yoghurt with live cultures. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial for your body and can help prevent or treat symptoms caused by the harmful bacteria, including the kind that cause food poisoning. They are also touted for their ability to boost your immune system and prevent infections. They can be found in pill or capsule forms but they are also found in yoghurt that contains live cultures of it. Brand-name yoghurts that contain live cultures will usually specify it on a label and frozen yoghurt stores tend to display such information on signs. Try to stay away from the kind that contains a lot of sugar, as this can irritate your stomach further.
Be patient. It may take a few days to clear the toxins from the food poisoning. Get as much rest as you can and refrain from strenuous exercise until you are well again. Read the warnings below.
- Give oral electrolytes to a child or infant who is suffering from symptoms of food poisoning. They are found in most pharmacies.
- Seek medical attention if any of the conditions below apply to you.
- 1. Your symptoms last more than five or six days or seem to be getting worse.
- 2. You have blood or mucus in your stool. You may have intestinal bleeding. It could clear up on its own, but it's best to see a doctor.
- 3. Your stools are black and tarry. This means you are severely dehydrated.
- 4. You have a fever that lasts more than three days.
- You might also opt to be on the safe side and seek medical attention immediately if your child or infant has contracted food poisoning. Children and elderly people, whose immune systems are generally weaker, are more likely to develop anaemia or even muscle paralysism as a result of severe cases of food poisoning
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