You’ll be relieved to hear that most people who contract food poisoning do not need medical attention.
It’s very important to rehydrate regularly as fluids and important electrolytes are easily lost through vomiting, sweating or diarrhea. Your body relies on fluids to flush out the toxins that are in your body. Therefore, drinking plenty of fresh water guarantees the quickest recovery time.
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The most important electrolytes that are lost during vomiting, sweating or diarrhea are:
· Sodium- Helps to regulate how much water is in the body and also transporting water throughout the body’s cells. Sodium is also a mineral responsible for many functions within the body including muscle function, maintaining blood pressure and brain function.
· Chloride- Works in turn with hydrogen to help form stomach acids for breaking down food and absorbing important nutrients. Therefore, any nutrients from foods that you are able to eat, can be distributed throughout the body and aid in your overall recovery.
· Potassium- Helps to regulate your heartbeat, control your central nervous system and contraction of muscles. Potassium is also important for breaking down carbohydrates and building proteins.
The wonders of coconut water
Coconut water is a great natural source of electrolytes, preferred over sugary, synthetic sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade. If you’ve had coconut water previously, then you’ll recall how hydrating it is. Modern-day claims are that it’s even more hydrating than regular water, hence the surge in its popularity among health enthusiasts. Coconuts also contain tannins, which help to reduce inflammation of the sensitive stomach lining caused by excessive vomiting. Tannins contain antibacterial properties which is just another weapon in fighting off your food poisoning, by helping to remove toxins from the body. In remote regions of the world, where proper medical resources are not available for IV drips, coconut water has successfully been used in IV drips. These reporting’s even going as far back as World War II when a saline solution was not readily available and coconut water was used in its place. Coconut water is great to have on standby if you have food poisoning, with many people finding it easier to sip on and hold down compared to water, given its slightly sweet taste.
Get adequate rest
Adequate rest will enable your body to repair and recover, which is very important to limit the duration that you suffer from the symptoms of food poisoning. You need to conserve as much energy as possible to allow the body to focus on removing toxins from your system. You will notice that you’re not only physically exhausted but also mentally drained. If you’re one to push on with life by going to work when you’re unwell, this is never a good idea, as many types of food poisoning including salmonella, norovirus and E.Coli are highly contagious. As hard as it is to sometimes put life on pause, the best place to be is in bed. Even if you have trouble sleeping, try watching a movie or reading a book to keep your body as still as possible.
Apply a heat bag to the stomach
Stomach cramps are very common with food poisoning. Science has proven how applying heat externally to the stomach, not only gives relief through the placebo effect but also reduces pain at a molecular level. There’s something incredibly nurturing about applying a heat bag or hot water bottle to the stomach when experiencing pain after vomiting.
Take pain medication
If you feel that you’re well enough to hold down water, then it could be a good idea to take some pain medication. This will help with bringing down your fever, and provide relief to aching muscles. Reducing your symptoms will also assist with getting to sleep, allowing your body to adequately rest. Antibiotics may be administered for certain types of food poisoning As a high mortality rate is associated with more serious variations of food poisoning such as listeria, antibiotics can be administered, especially patients who are elderly, pregnant or young babies and infants. If Listeria is left untreated, the mortality rate can be as high as 70%.
Eat bland foods
When you are able to hold down liquids, try moving onto bland foods that are easily digestible. This will help to get your energy back and avoid the feeling that your stomach is eating itself. It’s never a good idea to jump back into your normal diet, even if you have a craving for greasy burgers and hot fries. Instead start out on a mashed banana, plain toast or crackers.
How to prevent food poisoning
There are simple steps to be taken to greatly reduce your risk of suffering from food poisoning.
Proper food handling
It’s important to take precautions in the preparation of meals and handling of food, by thoroughly washing your hands. This is also important at meal time. Use separate knives and chopping boards to avoid cross-contamination. If you have to use the same knife or utensils for different foods, ensure you wash thoroughly between use.
Avoid eating foods that are past their use to date
Even if you’re someone who doesn’t like wasting food, you have to ask yourself if it’s truly worth eating that tub of ice cream, that’s only just passed its use by date. Items of foods that have reached their shelf life should be avoided at all costs.
Wash fruits and vegetables
This is important because fresh produce has been handled by multiple different people across the production line, it’s important that you wash fruits and vegetables; as it’s highly likely that someone along the way didn’t bother to wash their hands before handling the produce.
Avoid leaving cold food items unrefrigerated for lengthy periods of time, especially at a party or event where they may get forgotten about, and eaten many hours after they were first placed on the table. This gives bacteria a chance to flourish, especially at room temperature.
Wrap food items separately in the fridge
Make sure you wrap or keep the top of each food packet or tin closed over, in order to prevent contamination between different food items.
Read cooking times on food packets
Given that food poisoning can occur when you undercook particular raw foods, reading packets for correct cooking times, especially for fresh meats and raw seafood, is important. This includes properly reheating leftovers, by ensuring that they are heated through the middle.