What to Take for Food Poisoning Symptoms

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Food poisoning stems from eating contaminated or poorly prepared food, which can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps and fever. Symptoms usually last a few days, and while they may make you miserable, they're rarely fatal if treated properly. Children, pregnant women and the elderly should take special care when dealing with food poisoning, however. They run the biggest risk. You should always speak to a doctor regardless since he can diagnose the particular type of food poisoning more readily. In addition to any treatments he prescribes, you can take a few steps to help curb the symptoms.

Liquids

Vomiting and diarrhea take water out of your body, which presents a risk of dehydration. Counteract that by taking in water, Gatorade or clear soft drinks, such as 7-Up or ginger ale. Avoid caffeinated beverages--caffeine is a diuretic--and drink the liquid in small sips rather than big gulps. If you're concerned about nutritional requirements, consider bowls of chicken broth or bouillon. If you have problems keeping liquid down, suck on chips of ice instead. Make sure the chips are small enough to keep from choking and replace them frequently as you consume them.

Foods

When you suffer from food poisoning, you won't be able to eat much, and you should probably wait at least a few hours before trying to consume anything. When you do, stick to bland, easily digestible foods and start slowly. Crackers, toast, gelatin, white rice and bananas are recommended. Stay away from anything harsher, and stop eating if you start to feel nauseous again (vomiting takes fluids and nutrition out of your body). Avoid milk and dairy products--they make diarrhea worse--and never take more than you feel you can handle.

Medication

The Mayo Clinic and other professionals stress the need to avoid anti-diarrhea medication. While it may alleviate the symptoms, it also reduces your body's ability to fight the bacteria, which can extend the ordeal. In certain cases, antibiotics may be helpful, but it depends on the type of food which has poisoned you; get a doctor's recommendation and don't take any antibiotics unless he gives you the okay. In hospital situations, they may give you intravenous fluids, which provide electrolytes and help re-hydrate you faster than taking liquids by mouth. Most of the time, doctors prefer to let the symptoms pass without formal medical treatment. They recommend rest in a quiet environment careful monitoring of hydration levels, and a "grin and bear it" attitude until things start to improve.

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