Food poisoning can occur when you eat food that has not been cooked thoroughly, was handled in an unsanitary manner or was derived from a source that was contaminated, such as an unhealthy animal. The symptoms of food poisoning can mirror those of stomach flu and can occur anywhere from hours to days after eating the contaminated food. If you suspect that you are suffering from a bout of food poisoning, there are certain steps you must take to ensure you recover quickly and completely.
Things You'll Need
- Liquids with electrolytes
- Bland food
How to Deal With Bouts of Food Poisoning
Go to your doctor if you start experiencing symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. It will be extremely important to get checked by your doctor to make sure that you do in fact have prototypical food poisoning and not the far more serious condition of botulism. Additionally, your doctor will be able to give you a note confirming that you have food poisoning, which you can then bring to the restaurant where you suspect the poisoning occurred. It will be important to notify the restaurant of your situation to help prevent further cases of food poisoning. The restaurant will likely give you a refund for your meal even if it denies that the food poisoning came from its food.
Stay hydrated. While you are experiencing the flu-like symptoms of food poisoning, consuming more of anything may be the last thing on your mind. However, it is essential that you keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Electrolyte-enhanced water, popsicles and sports drinks are useful in keeping your fluid levels up. Avoid carbonated beverages, with the exception of ginger ale. Also avoid juices containing fiber, such as orange juice, and dairy products.
Soothe your stomach by taking an antacid or stomach medicine such as Pepto Bismal (with your doctor's permission). Be careful to follow the dosing instructions and keep in mind that if you have a severe bout of food poisoning, these items will ease but likely not eliminate your symptoms.
Eat a very bland diet. Feeling up to eating is a good sign when you have food poisoning; however, you can't eat just anything. Your stomach will still be extremely sensitive, so choose foods that are unlikely to upset it further. Good choices will include white rice, white toast without butter and applesauce.
Tips & Warnings
- The best way to avoid food poisoning is to use common-sense sanitation, such as washing your hands before eating.
- If your symptoms continue for more than a week, visit your doctor again.