The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least one in six people in the United States will suffer from foodborne illness this, and every, year. As it is, most people have had or will have food poisoning in their lifetime. Most often, food poisoning causes symptoms like aching stomach, cramping, nausea, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea that can last for a few hours, days, weeks, and in some cases, years. The traditional “stomach bug,” which lasts on average 24 to 48 hours, is typically caused by norovirus, a common virus that is easily transferred from person to person and ingested when people touch their food or utensils.
If symptoms begin to last longer than a “few” days or get progressively worse in severity, it is possible that the problem is a much more serious bacterial infection, such as an E. coli bacterial infection or possibly a salmonella bacterial infection. In these cases, people are often violently sick and begin to suffer from dehydration. In the case of E. coli, the diarrhea is often very bloody.
Those who believe they have acquired a bacterial food borne illness should seek medical attention immediately and ask to have a stool culture performed. If a person develops bloody diarrhea, it is very important to seek medical attention. All bacterial illness can be very serious.
What about a Mild case of food poisoning?
No case of food poisoning is going to be enjoyable. But while it never hurts to seek medical attention, not every case of food poisoning requires a visit to the hospital. For those managing less severe symptoms for (hopefully) a short term, a new Times Now News study suggests there are several ways to help those suffering from food poisoning at home. And while there is no substitute for proper medical treatment whenever warranted, certain home-remedies (says Times Now News) can help people cope with their symptoms and get through their sickness more smoothly.
These home-remedies include:
- Staying hydrated. Food poisoning and bacterial infections of the stomach are likely to cause diarrhea, sweating from fever, and/or vomiting, all of which are ways that your body rapidly loses fluids. Water, sports drinks high in electrolytes, decaffeinated tea, clear soda, or even coconut milk in small sips will help keep your body as hydrated as it can be.
- Taking Ginger, whether it is in a tea, simply chopped up and put in water, or eaten plain, it can soothe the stomach.
- Eating Garlic, either juiced or just eating one plain clove with some water, can help the stomach with its antibacterial properties.
- Consuming Yogurt, with Fenugreek Seeds (if possible) at a one tablespoon to one teaspoon ratio can soothe the stomach and help stop vomiting. The seeds (if taken) should be swallowed without chewing.
- Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar either alone, undiluted at two or three teaspoons, or two tablespoons mixed with warm water, can be consumed before eating to help ease pain and keep food down.
- Consuming Cumin Seeds, either simply chewed, or boiled and added to some coriander juice, work to soothe pain and inflammation.
- Eating Only Bland Foods like bananas, honey, oatmeal, cereal, etc. that are low in fat and fiber are “gentle” on your stomach and digestive system. Honey, in particular, is ideal because it, like garlic, tends to have some antibacterial properties.
In cases where medical treatment is not felt to be warranted, these “home remedies” may assist a victim of food poisoning in dealing with the awful ordeal.
But use caution, says National Food Poisoning Lawyer Ron Simon, “because illness that lasts longer than two days, or when symptoms are more serious and include dizziness, sharp muscle pain in the abdomen, bloody stool, or severe fatigue, I recommend immediate medical attention. It never hurts to have a stool culture performed to make sure you have not acquired a very dangerous and serous pathogen.”
For more information about food poisoning, visit the Mayo Clinic Website.