Food Poisoning

This is an illness caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, toxins or chemicals.

What to look for

Usually, food poisoning causes some combination of nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea that may or may not be bloody, sometimes with other symptoms.

If you eat food contaminated by viral, bacterial, or chemical agents you may come down with food poisoning. It can give you mild to very painful discomfort.

Causes

Food contaminated with bacteria, toxins or chemicals can cause food poisoning. Bacterial food poisoning occurs when a germ is contained in the food (salmonella) you have eaten. Harmful bacteria grow in cooked and raw meat and fish, dairy products, and prepared foods left at room temperature too long. People who are ill or infected can transmit bacteria to food they are preparing it.

Badly canned or bottled products can contain a bacterium that needs no oxygen to multiply and is not destroyed by cooking. This bacterium causes botulism, a rare but potentially fatal food poisoning.

If your symptoms are mild, you probably don't need a doctor. However, if you are worried or your symptoms last longer than two days visit your doctor.

Traditional Treatment

Vomiting and diarrhoea are the body's way of flushing poison out of your system, so it is advisable not to take anything which stops this natural process from occurring.

Because repeated vomiting or diarrhoea can remove large amounts of water from your system, drink plenty of filtered water to replenish your system.

 

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Try one or more of these alternative remedies while the body rids itself of the poison.

 

Herbal Therapies - Ginger (Zingiber officinale) can be an effective remedy for nausea. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) can be an effective remedy for nausea.

An infusion of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), catnip (Nepeta cataria), or slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) may help soothe stomach and intestinal membranes.

Also try some chamomile tea as this will soothe your stomach.

 

Homoeopathy - You could try any of the following over-the-counter remedies - Arsenicum Album, Veratrum Album, Nux Vomica, or Podophyllum. You could try any of the following over-the-counter remedies - Arsenicum Album, Veratrum Album, Nux Vomica, or Podophyllum.

 

Dietary Considerations

After symptoms subside, restore strength slowly by eating foods like white rice, bland vegetables, and bananas. To restore essential bacteria to your digestive tract, eat plain acidophilus yogurt, or take acidophilus capsules. Avoid unfermented milk products, which may be difficult to digest.

 

Prevention

  • Practice good hygiene and wash your hands before cooking and preparing any meals, and after you have been to the toilet.

  • Don't thaw frozen meat at room temperature. Let it thaw gradually in a refrigerator, or in a microwave oven and cook immediately.

  • Avoid uncooked marinated food and raw meat, fish, or eggs; cook all such food thoroughly.

  • Don't eat any food that looks or smells rotten, or any food from bulging cans or cracked jars.

  • Never eat cooked meat or dairy products that have been out of a refrigerator more than two hours.

 

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the above symptoms

  • the vomiting or diarrhoea is severe and lasts for more than two days.