Do these scenarios sound familiar to you? You are at an important dinner and all you feel like is to rest your head on white tablecloth because your stomach felt queasy – that’s food poisoning. Or you find yourself crawling to the toilet barely able to stand on your two feet – that is food poisoning. How about when you regurgitate (this is more common than you think) the meal your ate several hours ago and it tastes and smells like something the cat dragged in – that is food poisoning.
Food poisoning makes the news mostly when a large group or a whole community is hit by sudden illness with similar symptoms. However it occurs rather frequently in our homes and never make the news. Fact is, isolated cases like that are not glamorous enough to make prime time news. Unless the victim is Kim Kardashian. So, how can you tell you have food poisoning?
Food poisoning is a food-borne disease caused by harmful microorganisms and toxins in the food we ingest. These organisms can be viruses, bacteria and parasites. Once they are present in enough quantity in either food or water, the result is a serious upset stomach. Sometimes, and this is a mystery to most people, the symptoms you see may have being caused by something you ingested several days ago, sometimes up to a week. This is because, especially for bacterial infection, there is an incubation period before the illness hits. The incubation period can be anything from a few hours to a week.
So, don’t rush to blame the samosa you ate last night at your friend’s birthday bash. It could have being caused by that delicious salad you made for yourself at home few days ago. Generally, it can be recognized by the following symptoms: bloated feeling, severe abdominal pains, cramps, watery diarrhea, high body temperature, nausea and vomiting.
Okay, so you’ve determined that what you are feeling at the moment is all down to something bad you ate; follow these easy steps to get back to your tip-top condition.
Drink Lots of Fluids
The good thing about food poisoning is that it is rarely fatal. One normally gets better in a few hours or few days depending on the severity. The first line of treatment should be to replace the fluids you lost while the diarrhea ravaged your body. Lots of water would do just fine. Also sports drinks or a little carbonated soft drink, if you have one handy, are important in replenishing important body electrolytes like potassium and calcium.
So re-hydration is very essential. Drinking fluids also help to flush the system of whatever your body doesn’t like.
Start With Healthy Foods
It is common for people to ingest the wrong things when they are reeling from the effects of the condition. For instance, it is even wrong to take drugs to relieve the pain. Stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting are the body’s natural way of getting rid of the infection.
So, you should start with healthy foods rich in potassium like banana. Other healthy diet include rice, applesauce and toast. Avoid anything that is not cooked like salad, dairy products and greasy or fatty foods. The easy rule here is to avoid anything that is raw, anything that is not fresh or cold and uncooked foods.
Call or Visit the Hospital
Resort to this if after a few hours, you are still vomiting or the diarrhea has not abated. For food poisoning, the severity never last long. It is only the post-food poisoning body weakness which stays with us for several hours to remind us of the harrowing experience we had earlier.
For little kids, the risk of extreme dehydration is always possible. So you shouldn’t wait to long before you use that option. The elderly too should given given the same care as kids because their bodies are just as frail and weak at the best of times. Don’t be afraid to be accused of being too anxious and scurrying to the hospital for something so common. Some cases, depending on their severity, are treated with the appropriate dose of antibiotics.
Unfortunately, food poisoning is one of those diseases that can’t be prevented. It can come from anywhere. Like the day I used lots of milk with my morning tea. A few hours later, my day was shot to pieces as I succumbed to the ravages of diarrhea. I stayed home all day, drank lots of water and contemplated the mysteries of the universe. While also feeling really miserable. I was okay by the next day though.