How to Get Rid of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning strikes when you eat food that is contaminated with bacteria or another toxin, or that has natural poisonous properties. The painful symptoms usually subside on their own after few days, when the source of the poisoning has left your body, but there are actions you can take in the meantime to make yourself more comfortable and speed up your recovery. In severe cases, you may need to seek medical attention.
Foods to Eat and Avoid
Determining What Action to Take
Figure out what caused the food poisoning.Before treating the symptoms of food poisoning, it is important to figure out what caused it. Think back to the food you ate in the last 4 to 36 hours. Did you try something new? Did anything taste slightly off? Did you share food with a friend or family member who is also experiencing the same symptoms? Here are the most likely causes of food poisoning:
- Food that has been contaminated by E. coli, Salmonella, and other types of bacteria. Bacteria are usually killed when food is cooked and handled properly, so this type of food poisoning usually results from undercooked meat or food that was left sitting out without refrigeration.
- Poisonous fish, such as puffer fish, are also a common source of food poisoning. Puffer fish should not be consumed unless it has been prepared by staff at a restaurant that is certified to do so.
- Poisonous wild mushrooms, looking identical to edible mushrooms, can also cause food poisoning
Decide if immediate medical attention is necessary.Food poisoning that was caused by bacteria, especially when it strikes an otherwise healthy person, is usually treatable at home. However, depending on the source of the food poisoning and the age of the person who has it, it may be necessary to seek medical help immediately.Call a doctor under the following circumstances:
- If the food poisoning is due to poisonous fish or mushrooms.
- If patient is an infant or a young child.
- If the patient is pregnant.
- The person with food poisoning is over 65 years of age.
- The person with food poisoning is experiencing severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing, dizziness or fainting, or vomiting blood.
Relieving the Symptoms of Food Poisoning
The first and foremost thing that needs to be done in any case of food poisoning is to increase the fluid intake.It is easier for the toxins to get flushed out of your system if your water intake is good. Vomiting and diarrhea are the common symptoms in food poisoning and these lead to fluid loss, so it is important to drink water and other fluids to avoid dehydration. Adults should try to drink at least 16 cups of water a day.
Limit solid foods.Food poisoning causes vomiting and diarrhea which are natural bodily functions that work to dispel the poison from the body. Eating more solid foods will cause more vomiting and diarrhea, so it's best to avoid eating big meals until one is feeling better.
- It should go without saying that you should avoid eating the food that caused the poisoning. If you aren't sure what caused it, forgo eating anything that hasn't been freshly prepared right before you consume it.
- If you get tired of subsisting on broth and soup, eat plain foods that won't upset your stomach, like bananas, plain boiled white rice or dry toast.
- Herbal tea, especially mint tea, contains properties that calm the stomach. Try drinking a few cups of peppermint tea to stay hydrated and reduce your nausea.
- Ginger ale and lemon or lime soda can also help with rehydration, and the carbonation helps settle your stomach.
- Avoid coffee, alcohol and fluids that cause dehydration.
Replace electrolytes.If you're losing a lot of nutrients through excess vomiting and diarrhea , you can buy an electrolyte solution from a pharmacy to replace them. Gatorade or Pedialyte will work fine, too.
Get plenty of rest.You'll probably feel weak and tired after going through the symptoms of food poisoning. Sleep as much as you need to to help your body recover faster.
Avoid medications.Over-the-counter medications meant to prevent diarrhea and vomiting can actually slow your recover by impeding the natural functions that eliminate the source of the food poisoning.
Preventing Food Poisoning
Wash your hands, dishes and kitchen surfaces.Food poisoning is often caused by bacteria that get transferred to food by way of unwashed hands, dishes, cutting boards, utensils or work surfaces. Take the following measures to prevent getting food poisoning this way:
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before preparing food.
- Wash your dishes and utensils in warm, soapy water after they have been used.
- Use a cleanser to wipe down your counters, tables, cutting boards and other kitchen surfaces after preparing a meal, especially one that includes raw meat.
Store food properly.Make sure that raw food, such as packages of uncooked chicken or steak, is kept separate from food that doesn't need to be cooked, to prevent cross-contamination. All meat and dairy should be refrigerated as soon as you bring it home from the market.
Cook meat thoroughly.Cooking meat until it reaches an internal temperature that kills bacteria can prevent bacterial food poisoning. Make sure you know the temperature to which your meat should be cooked, and use a meat thermometer to check the temperature before you finish cooking it.
- Chicken and other poultry should be cooked to 165 F (73.9 C).
- Ground beef should be cooked to 160 F (71.1 C).
- Beef steaks and roasts should be cooked to 145 F (62.8 C).
- Pork should be cooked to 160 F (71.1C).
- Fish should be cooked to 145 F (62.8 C).
Don't eat wild mushrooms.Foraging for wild mushrooms has become a trend in recent years, but unless you're looking for mushrooms under the guidance of an expert, eating freshly picked mushrooms should be avoided. Even scientists have trouble distinguishing some edible and poisonous mushroom species without the aid of biological tests.
QuestionHow long do the symptoms usually last?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMost food poisoning symptoms go away within a day or two. Severe food poisoning symptoms can last up to about 10 days.Thanks!
QuestionI am a 70 year old male that had a liver transplant 8 years ago. I'm just recovering from a very violent episode of food poisoning. Do I need to worry that all the violent throwing up and dry heaves may have caused damage to my new liver?Alexia MaxwellCommunity AnswerIf you are over 65 and experiencing food poisoning go to a hospital immediately.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are common sources of food poisoning?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCommon culprits of food poisoning are: Leafy greens, raw eggs, sprouts, milk, dairy products and raw juices, tuna and other seafood.Thanks!
QuestionCan food poisoning persist over the course of two days? If so, what are the solutions?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFood poisoning is violent and brutal. It can persist for 48 hours and perhaps more. Unlike some viral stomach ailments, you may find your complete recovery lasts much longer. If you suspect dehydration, get to the nearest hospital for IV, perhaps pain medication, an anti-emetic, abdominal spasm reducer, antacid and more. Otherwise, you'll just have to ride it out until it's done.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if you don't know if have food poisoning?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOften, you won't know you have food poisoning and unless other member of your party who ate the exact same food in the same venue and displays similar symptoms, there's no telling what you have. It could be viral, food poisoning or another complication. However, it can make sense to treat it as food poisoning. Go to a local clinic or hospital for severe dehydration. Try to obtain an anti-emetic to prevent vomiting. Don't take medication to stop diarrhea. The bacteria or virus does need to initially exit the system, so limit the vomiting and let the diarrhea run its course. However, if you are still experiencing diarrhea for more than one week, consult your doctor. For a case you're sure about, read the article.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do to stop food poisoning once it has started?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can't. You just have to let it run its course and be sure to drink lots of fluids as soon as you know. Sometimes drinking a very strong peppermint or chamomile tea can help with some of the discomforts.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I alleviate the extreme symptoms of food poisoning?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe key word here is poison. Your body is going to do everything it can to expel all unwelcome bacteria. Extreme food poisoning results in violent vomiting and diarrhea. Make your way to a local clinic or hospital and receive IV treatment to prevent dehydration and receive an anti-emetic. Unless dehydration is a serious concern, most physicians do not recommend medication to cease diarrhea.Thanks!
QuestionWill taking Tums or similar antacids help with the nausea?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTums or antacid tablets/powder will reduce the amount of excess acid in your gut. However, an anti-emetic is a far better choice, especially with food poisoning.Thanks!
QuestionIs it easy to get food posioning from oysters?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, oysters are a common cause of food poisoning. Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus) and Vibrio parahaemolyticus (V. parahaemolyticus) are bacteria that occur naturally in warm coastal areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico. These bacteria are found in higher concentrations in the summer months when the water gets warmer. Vibrios typically cause disease in people who eat contaminated seafood.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I remedy a case of food poisoning if I am unsure from where it came?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt doesn't matter where it came from. Your symptoms will be similar, regardless of what you ate. Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal spasms and cramping. Treat the symptoms and try to figure out the culprit after you get better. Write down your experience and note if this happens with similar foods frequently. If it happens repeatedly, you may have an allergy or a major kitchen hygiene failure.Thanks!
Can you get food poisoning from deviled eggs?
What if you have abdominal cramps and green-yellow vomit, but no diarrhea, just constipation?
I have a tummy ache as well as a headache what does this mean!
If you have food poisoning, try to drink at least 16 cups of water each day while the symptoms persist. This will help flush the toxins out of your system and will help prevent dehydration. Get as much rest as possible, and limit your food intake to broth, bananas, plain white rice, or dry toast. If you suspect the cause of the food poisoning was due to poisonous fish or mushrooms, or if the symptoms are severe, seek medical help immediately.
- Don't risk eating food that has been sitting in your refrigerator for awhile. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Suck on ice or juice cubes to help manage nausea and keep yourself hydrated.
- Try to avoid too much of outside food.
Sources and Citations
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Video: How to Treat Food Poisoning
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