There are more than 250 pathogens that can cause food poisoning. No matter what the source is, all foodborne illnesses produce similar unpleasant symptoms. While some of the uncomfortable symptoms simply have to run their course, there are some remedies that can help ease your suffering.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
As your body tries to purge the toxins, all you want is relief. Food poisoning can be a painful and uncomfortable experience. The most common symptoms are:
- Abdominal cramps
- Lower back pain
With foodborne illnesses, diarrhea can be frequent and intense. It is tempting to take over the counter medications to stop diarrhea, but doing so may only prolong the illness. The best way to get better faster is to try to remain comfortable and hydrated while your body rejects the pathogen that made you sick.
The number one concern with any foodborne illness is dehydration. Most pathogens and foodborne illnesses will resolve themselves within a week with no medical intervention if the victims can stay hydrated.
Food Poisoning Remedies
Try these food poisoning remedies if you believe you have consumed contaminated food. Use common sense prevention techniques to prevent food poisoning from happening again.
- Stop eating and drinking for a few hours
- Try sucking on ice or taking tiny sips of water if you can’t keep water down.
- Ease back into eating – try clear broths, sports drinks, crackers, bananas, or rice to test your stomach’s tolerance.
- Avoid rich and greasy foods, including dairy, until you are feeling completely better
- Rest – the illness and dehydration will drain your energy
- Talk to a doctor before taking any anti-diarrheal medication
Remedies for Kids
Food poisoning is a more serious concern for children, especially those under the age of five. Kids under five should receive medical attention for all cases for food poisoning. For older children, remedies are similar to the recommendations for adults – lots of fluids and bland foods. Kids may also benefit from an oral rehydration fluid like Pedialyte or Enfalyte. For babies, continue breastfeeding or using formula as usual.
Keep in mind, however, children should never take over the counter anti-diarrheal medication for food poisoning. It can keep the toxins in their bodies long enough to cause serious problems.
Natural food poisoning remedies have been used for generations. These remedies are less harsh on the body than medications. Of course, it is always advisable to contact your doctor before taking any remedy.
Apple Cider Vinegar
One natural home remedy for food poisoning is apple cider vinegar. This is a go-to home remedies for nausea and upset stomachs. They may also ease some of the discomfort of the purging process and perhaps even shorten it. Mix a drink of equal parts water and organic apple cider vinegar at the first sign of food poisoning. Take tiny sips as often as you can.
Activated charcoal is increasingly popular as a remedy for upset stomachs. The reason is that activated charcoal has an incredible ability to absorb toxins. Since it cannot be digested, it moves all the way through your digestive tract, absorbing toxins and calming your symptoms. You can purchase activated charcoal tablets or powder. For powder, mix ½ teaspoon of activated charcoal into a soft food like applesauce. Take small bites as often as you can.
Ginger has been used to calm nausea and vomiting for thousands of years. It improves absorption of nutrients and aids in digestion. It can also prevent nausea and vomiting from worsening. Use fresh ginger root to make a tea, or eat small ginger slices.
Basil is known to soothe abdominal pain and discomfort, and is also a fierce antimicrobial. Incorporate basil into a tea, juice, or use fresh basil oil in water or tea.
Yogurt fights bad bacteria and balances good bacteria. Eating small bites of yogurt can help fight off the bacteria causing food poisoning, which can relieve symptoms and shorten the duration.
When to Call a Doctor about Food Poisoning
The vast majority of foodborne illnesses will resolve on their own within a few days, but in any case of food poisoning, seek medical attention if you develop signs of dehydration, such as:
- Dry, sticky mouth and tongue
- Decreased urine output, or none at all
- Dark, concentrated urine
- Rapid heartbeat
- Weakness or dizziness
- Feel lightheaded when rising from a sitting position
- In children, listlessness or lethargy
Other symptoms that need immediate medical attention include:
- Bloody vomit or stool
- Blurred vision
- Diarrhea that lasts for longer than three days
- Fever higher than 101.5 F
- Vomiting so severe that you can’t keep liquids down
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling in the arms
Always consult a doctor for signs of food poisoning if you are over 60 or have a compromised immune system. Women who are pregnant should also contact their doctor immediately. Children under the age of five should be evaluated by a pediatrician.
How Does Food Poisoning Spread?
From the point of origin to your plate, there are dozens of opportunities for pathogens to invade your food. There are so many foodborne illnesses the possibilities are mind-boggling. About one in six Americans will experience some degree of food poisoning this year.
Some of the ways food becomes contaminated include:
- Fish meat can be contaminated by the fish feeding in contaminated water.
- Vegetables grown using contaminated water.
- Vegetables grown near livestock, which may have foodborne pathogens in water sources.
- Pesticides and chemicals can soak into fruits and vegetables through the skin.
- Eggs laid by hens with infected internal organs can contain Salmonella.
- Ready-to-eat foods can be handled or packaged on a contaminated surface or in a contaminated facility.
- Food handlers can spread food poisoning with poor hand washing techniques.
- Food processing and distribution practices may not keep food at an adequate temperature to prevent bacteria.
Common Sense Tips to Prevent Food Poisoning
Avoid the need for food poisoning remedies altogether by preventing the spread of germs that can make you sick. Consider the following common sense tips that can help your family stay healthy:
- Clean – Diligent hygiene is key to preventing food poisoning. Wash fruits and vegetables. Wash all kitchen utensils in hot, soapy water. Don’t wash meat or eggs to avoid splashing the bacteria around your kitchen.
- Separate – Keep ready-to-eat food separate from raw meat, poultry, and eggs in your refrigerator, and even your grocery store cart. Don’t use marinade from raw meat on cooked meat. Don’t put cooked meat back onto a platter or surface that held raw meat unless it’s been thoroughly washed with hot water and soap.
- Cook – Most foodborne pathogens will not survive temperatures higher than 160 F. Cook all meat and eggs to an internal temperature of 160 F. Use a food thermometer because the appearance of meat and eggs is not a reliable indicator of doneness. Don’t eat raw eggs or dough containing raw eggs.
- Chill – The germs that spread food poisoning thrive between 40 F and 140 F. Keep cool foods below 40F. Don’t leave food out for longer than an hour at temperatures higher than 90F. Don’t thaw frozen foods on the counter as they will quickly reach temperatures that will allow foodborne pathogens to thrive.
If you find food lurking in the back of your refrigerator, do not taste it to check whether it is safe. Judge by smell or look up the refrigerator life for the type of food it is.
Contact Bad Food Recall
If at-home food poisoning remedies fail, you may need to seek emergency medical attention. Hospital bills are costly, which only adds to your discomfort.
Depending on the cause of your illness, you may have a legal claim for the harm you suffered. Food recalls are in the news every week, and when food producers distribute a product that makes people sick, they are liable for the resulting harm.
If you or someone you love has questions or concerns about food poisoning, talk to Bad Food Recall. We can answer questions, address your legal rights, and discuss your options. Call 1-877-534-5750 for a free consultation.