According to the CDC, there are around 128,000 hospitalizations from food poisoning every year. This makes food poisoning one of the most common illnesses in the United States. Thankfully, the vast majority of people who are infected do not require hospitalization and can easily be cared for at home.
What Should You Do About Food Poisoning?
If you are concerned that you or a loved one has food poisoning, the best thing you can do is get in touch with your doctor. While you wait for your appointment, there are plenty of steps you can take to start your recovery at home. Here are the most common ways people treat food poisoning…
13. Stay Hydrated
Food poisoning is notorious for causing diarrhea and vomiting in addition to making it difficult to consume food and beverages. This means that the body is at risk for dehydration.
Why Staying Hydrated Can Help
Keeping up hydration is vital to a successful recovery. Drinking easy to consume beverages such as water, sports drinks, or other clear liquids helps get fluids back into the body. Even frozen popsicles can be a great way to start rehydrating. In extreme cases, patients will need intravenous (IV) solutions to rehydrate.
In addition to rehydrating, you need to make sure you are resupplying your body with lost electrolytes…
12. Increase Your Electrolyte Consumption
Electrolytes are some of the most vital minerals for helping our bodies run smoothly. When we become ill with food poisoning, we run the risk of rapidly losing bodily fluids and electrolytes along with them.
Why Increasing Electrolyte Consumption Can Help
Severe electrolyte imbalances can lead to seizures and even coma. Making sure your electrolytes are balanced is a great way to prevent some of the worst food poisoning outcomes. Sports drinks are effective ways to restore your electrolytes while also rehydrating.
Liquids are great not only because they rehydrate the body, but also because they are easy to digest…
11. Let Your Stomach Relax
Food poisoning hits the stomach the hardest. While you’re recovering from food poisoning, you might find that your stomach is unable to handle a wide variety of foods and that eating makes your symptoms worse.
Why Letting Your Stomach Relax Can Help
Your stomach is a delicate part of your body. Food poisoning takes its toll on your digestive tract and it needs time to recover. Once food poisoning symptoms start to appear, you should hold off on eating anything new for at least an hour.
When you do start eating again, it’s best to take it slowly with some easy-to-digest foods….
10. Consume Easy-to-Digest Foods
Some foods are easier for the body to digest than others. Bread, rice, and jello are just three of the foods that the body has an easier time digesting.
Why Easy to Digest Foods Can Help
While your digestive system is recovering from food poisoning, you want to give it all the advantages you can. That means consuming food that is easier for your body to handle. Overtaxing your stomach while you are recovering can lead to your symptoms getting worse.
While you are eating easy-to-digest foods, you should also avoid foods that can upset your stomach…
9. Avoid Certain Foods
Certain foods are well known for their ability to disrupt our digestive systems. Coffee, alcohol, and hot peppers are just a few. Avoiding these foods can give your stomach more time to heal.
Why Avoiding Certain Foods Can Help
Recovering from food poisoning is all about letting the stomach heal. Volatile foods can upset the stomach even on our best days so it’s vital to avoid them while recovering from food poisoning. Think about the foods that upset your stomach and make sure to avoid those while recovering from food poisoning.
While we’re on the subject of what to eat, probiotics can be a great way to speed up your recovery…
8. Reach for the Probiotics
Our digestive systems are full of good bacteria, or microorganisms that are beneficial to our digestive process. In fact, we need a healthy balance of these “good gut bacteria” in order to live. Food poisoning can throw off this balance.
Why Probiotics Can Help
Probiotics can help restore the good gut bacteria especially after being infected with the bad kind. Probiotic foods are also often easier to digest, such as probiotic yoghurt, which makes it a natural choice during food poisoning recovery.
While you are enjoying these easy to digest, and healthy, foods, you should make sure to relax…
7. Take it Easy
While there are many causes of food poisoning and it can even be impossible to pin down what, exactly, is causing your case, it’s important to remember that this is still an illness. As with any infection, rest is an important part of recovery.
Why Taking it Easy Can Help
Just like with the common cold, you need to rest in order to get better faster. Trying to work or being too physically active during recovery only hurts your ability to heal. Treat your food poisoning like you would any other illness and make sure to get plenty of rest.
Also as with other illnesses, you can consider some over the counter medications to help with your symptoms…
6. Grab Some Antidiarrheal Medications
Antidiarrheal medicines can help with some of the most uncomfortable symptoms of food poisoning. These medicines are widely available and can take the edge off food poisoning.
Why Antidiarrheal Medicine Can Help
Antidiarrheal medicines help to stabilize the digestive tract. These medicines reduce the severity of diarrhea and can also help ease your upset stomach. While they won’t cure what is making you ill, they will make the symptoms more manageable.
Most of the work for taking care of a person with food poisoning comes down to helping them manage their symptoms…
5. Seek Supportive Care
Supportive care is the process of treating the symptoms of an illness when you can’t directly cure what caused it. With food poisoning, it can be difficult or even impossible to determine what caused the illness. That makes treating symptoms one of the best strategies.
Why Supportive Care Can Help
It’s worth pointing out that treating symptoms can go a long way to helping people recover faster as well as avoiding dangerous outcomes. Symptoms like dehydration, fever, and loss of appetite can quickly lead to more serious medical conditions. Taking care of these symptoms helps prevent the worst food poisoning outcomes.
While you are working to get a handle on symptoms, letting nature take its course is also a viable option…
4. Let Nature Handle Things
Most cases of food poisoning handle themselves over time without the help of medicines or a doctor. Sometimes the best thing you can do for a person with food poisoning is just to take care of their symptoms while nature runs its course.
Why Letting Nature Handle Things Can Help
While symptoms like diarrhea may be uncomfortable, that is the body’s natural process of rapidly expelling harmful agents like bacteria and toxins. Staying hydrated while letting the body take care of itself can help your case improve.
While your body is busy healing, you can take important steps to not spread your case of food poisoning…
3. Avoid Infecting Others
Depending on what has caused your food poisoning, it can be highly contagious. Helping to reduce the spread of your illness keeps our entire community safe and helps you to not get reinfected.
Why Avoiding Infecting Others Can Help
Bacterial and viral cases of food poisoning are highly contagious. With symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, these conditions can easily be spread through a community. While you are sick, try to keep your distance from others and make sure not to handle any communal food preparation.
If your case of food poisoning is extreme, it might be time to see a doctor…
2. See Your Doctor
Your doctor can help you with every aspect of your food poisoning case. If your symptoms are not improving or they are starting to get worse, it’s time to visit a doctor.
Why Seeing Your Doctor Can Help
Doctors have access to treatment techniques and medicines that most households don’t, or can’t, have on hand. Your doctor can help with intravenous rehydration, prescription medicines, and even hospitalization if your case is extreme.
In extreme food poisoning cases, it might be necessary for your doctor to prescribe antibiotics.
1. Take Your Full Round of Antibiotics as Prescribed
Antibiotics are a class of medicine that fights against bacterial infections. They do this by stopping bacteria from being able to reproduce. These medicines can help with certain cases of food poisoning.
Why Antibiotics Can Help
Food poisoning can be caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, and even chemicals. It can be hard for medical professionals to diagnose your specific cause. If they determine that it is bacterial or they need to try more options to cure you, antibiotics may be in order. These medicines will knock out the bad bacteria causing your illness and help you get better quicker.
Food poisoning is extremely common and often takes care of itself in time, but when we get infected there are steps to take to get us healthy again.
If you suspect that you have a case of food poisoning, follow these guidelines and don’t forget to get in contact with your doctor. In order to prevent the spread of potentially dangerous food products, you should also report your case to the USDA or FDA so that they can stop contaminated foods from spreading throughout the market.
Remember, just like with any illness, staying hydrated is half the battle!