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Food Poisoning

Food poisoning or gastroenteritis is caused by drinking or eating food contaminated with micro-organisms or by the toxic substances produced by them. Its symptoms – vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, and stomach ache take the condition from bad to worse. Frequent visits to the bathroom during the day understandably make you dehydrated and tired. These tiring visits strongly make you realise that you have eaten something which you shouldn’t have. It is difficult to identify which food item has caused food poisoning, because it could be anything that you’ve eaten a week ago to an hour earlier. What you need, at the earliest, is relief and recovery. Follow these tips to feel better, and make sure you don’t go through the nightmare again.

Keep yourself hydrated

  • It’s one of those remedies your grandma might have told you about. Drink plenty of fluids. If you’re vomiting, make sure you take fluids sip-by-sip rather than gulping down a glassful.
  • Take a couple of oranges, squeeze out the juice, add two teaspoon honey and a half teaspoon salt, and mix it in 500ml water. This will replace salt and sugars that are lost from the body through diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • You can also buy oral hydration sachets, such as Hydralyte and Gastrolyte, which are available at a medical store.
  • Herbal teas can help a great deal in relieving stomach cramps. Drink camomile, thyme, peppermint, ginger, or fennel tea, as they are mildly antiseptic.

Comfort is the key

  • Massage your stomach with warm soothing body oils such as tea-tree oil, peppermint, geranium, sandalwood oil, or sweet almond oil. Massage your stomach or ask a loved one to massage your stomach in a smooth but firm circular motion till you feel comfortable.
  • Take a warm water bath regularly. Put three drops of geranium and ginger oils, two drops of peppermint oil in the bath tub. Stay in the tub for about twenty minutes and add warm water, if needed.

Ginger – it can work wonders
Ginger can give your stomach the much needed relief, as it has elements that counter vomiting and nausea. If you can manage to chew a piece of fresh root ginger, nothing like it. But if it is too hot for you to chew, drink ginger tea or simply take ginger tablets. However, if you’re taking blood-thinning medication or have gall-stones, do not take large amounts of ginger.

Recovering from the nightmare

  • Rice is the ideal food item for your stomach. Once you start feeling a little better, eat simple boiled rice, it will help bind your bowel content.
  • Once your stomach’s capacity to hold down rice is improved, start eating other bland foods. Chicken stock, plain toast, and apple purée are suitable for your stomach.
  • Eat fresh yoghurt everyday, as it helps restore the balance of micro-organisms in your stomach.
  • Make sure you have vitamin and mineral rich food or food-supplements in your diet.

How can you avoid recurrence of food poisoning?

  • First and foremost, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after cooking food, and after using the toilet.
  • Keep pets away from food items.
  • Rinse foods, such as vegetables and fruits thoroughly before eating them. If they are not fresh or clean, do not eat them.
  • Store all perishable food items in the refrigerator.
  • Keep kitchen work surfaces, refrigerator, chopping boards, can-openers clean.
  • Disinfect kitchen sponges, dish-washing brushes, and dish-wipes regularly.
  • Cook raw meat thoroughly to make sure that all the bacteria are killed.
  • Do not use any food item past its use-before date, or which smells bad or has fungus growing on it.

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