Food poisoning is a generalized term for any instance when you eat or drink something that infects you with harmful organisms. Your body reacts by trying to eliminate the bacteria from your gastrointestinal tract, resulting in cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some extremely severe types of bacterial food poisoning can be treated with specific antibiotics. Unfortunately, there is no cure for most cases of unidentified food poisoning. You just have to wait it out for a few days and give your body time to heal. While you are dealing with food poisoning, a few lifestyle changes can make a big difference. These treatments will help your body to fight off the food poisoning while you remain as comfortable as possible.
Take A Break From Eating
In the early stages of food poisoning, it is a good idea to take a break from eating altogether. When you first get sick, you tend to deal with violent stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. This happens because the body is trying to empty out the gastrointestinal tract to expel the organisms causing the food poisoning. When you put more food in your stomach, it just triggers the reflex all over again. Doctors typically suggest patients avoid solid foods until they can keep down fluids without vomiting or diarrhea. However, going more than a day or two without eating is also not ideal, so this treatment should be brief. You might worry about getting hungry, but do not worry. Most patients with food poisoning are feeling too bad to care about a temporary lack of food.
Drink Small Sips Of Clear Fluids
The main danger when you have food poisoning is dehydration from all the vomiting and diarrhea. Many patients end up in the hospital with an emergency IV following a bout of severe food poisoning. If you want to avoid this, make sure your fluid intake remains high. Unfortunately, putting anything in your stomach may cause cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea to start up again.
The best way of keeping liquids down is taking frequent small sips of clear fluids. Water is always helpful, but keep in mind you may also need electrolytes to help keep the fluid balance in your body at a safe level. You can get electrolytes by sipping on certain sports drinks, or a salty, clear fluid like chicken broth. Avoid liquids with excess sugar because this may further upset the stomach. Some patients find fluids with ginger or mint in them, such as ginger ale and herbal tea, can have a calming effect on nausea when sipped slowly.
Get Plenty Of Rest
When your body is busy fighting off a bout of food poisoning, it needs to stay as well rested as possible. Take a sick day from work or stop your studies for a little bit so you can spend time at home and recover. If your bathroom is big enough, consider creating a pallet to sleep on in there to be near the toilet. It is hard to get a lot of sleep when you are feeling so bad, but being tired out will just make you feel more miserable. Once you start to feel a little bit better, continue to take it easy. Instead of rushing out and trying to do a lot of things at once, spend a few days relaxing at home. This can be an ideal time to read a book, catch up on a television show, or just lay back and nap.
Eat Bland Foods
Once the worst bout of food poisoning is over, it is time to regain your strength. Keep in mind your stomach and intestines will most likely feel weak and sensitive for quite a while. During this time, snack frequently on bland foods. Take it slow and use tiny portions at first until you are sure of how your stomach will react. The ideal foods to eat following a bout of food poisoning will be things lower in fat and fiber because these can be a bit of extra work for the gastrointestinal system to deal with. Many individuals follow the BRAT diet which consists of nothing but bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast while they have food poisoning.
These four options are excellent, but you do not have to limit yourself. Other good choices include eggs, peanut butter, potatoes, saltine crackers, and some sugar-free cereals. Taking the time to eat bland foods will keep your stomach calm while providing your body with much-needed nutrition.
Avoid Certain Foods For Awhile
After you get food poisoning, your immune system will most likely be quite weak. Encountering any other dangerous organisms can lead to yet another unpleasant bout of food poisoning. Because your risk for food poisoning will be higher after you have been sick, it is a good idea to avoid certain foods for a while. The most common source of food poisoning is undercooked poultry, so be sure to cook it thoroughly and clean up carefully after handling it when you do return to eating it. Both fruits and vegetables may contain dangerous bacteria, so you may want to avoid eating raw greens and fruit for a while. Other potential sources of food poisoning include rice, deli meats, eggs, and unpasteurized dairy. You may also want to consider avoiding foods that will be rough on your sensitive digestive tract, including spicy foods and foods with an excessive amount of fiber or grease.