MANILA, Philippines – The issue of food poisoning has been in the headlines lately, and in truth, it always hits when you least expect it.
After all, you can get food poisoning from practically anything that’s been contaminated. However, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some foods are more often linked to food poisoning cases than others.
These include unwashed raw fruits and vegetables, raw or undercooked meat, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk, and raw shellfish.
The CDC also singled out oysters’ link to food poisoning, saying that they (and other filter-feeding shellfish) can contain viruses or bacteria that lead to illness or even death.
For oysters, in particular, they can contain a virus called norovirus or a bacteria called vibrio, both of which cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, and fever.
If you do end up sick after an unsuspecting dinner out with friends, don’t panic. Most food poisoning cases can be treated at home and resolved within a matter of days. When your stomach starts feeling funky after a meal, here are a few tips to deal with it:
Replace your fluids
Vomitting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration sooner than you think, so when you’re down with food poisoning, make it your number one goal to stay hydrated.
Having recently gone through a bout of food poisoning myself, I was told by my doctor that sports beverages are okay but not enough because we lose a lot of electrolytes along with the fluid. Oral rehydration salts such as Hydrite are much more effective.
She also advised me to observe my urine frequency. Apparently, going for more than six hours without urinating is a clear sign that you’re dehydrated.
Don’t reach for the meds right away
When you’re spending the hours at a time on the toilet, it’s likely that the first thing you want to do is pop your favorite anti-diarrhea pill just to make it stop. However, this medication is not recommended for everybody.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you may only take antimotility drugs like Loperamide if your stool isn’t bloody or if you have no fever. In any case, it’s best to consult your doctor before taking any medication.
Stick to bland foods
Obviously, you don’t want to upset your already upset stomach even further by plying it with food that’s highly-seasoned or difficult to digest. At this point, lugaw is life (also crackers, plain toast, and bananas).
The Mayo Clinic also recommends staying away from dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine as you recover.
Even when your stomach settles down, take your time and give yourself a few days before eating as you normally would. That samgyupsal all-you-can-eat can wait.
If there’s a good reason to take a sick leave from work (or from life), food poisoning might be it. Obviously, diarrhea and vomiting are better dealt with at home, but food poisoning’s other symptoms – headaches, cramps, nausea – can also be eased by simply resting.
If your case is not so severe, you might be tempted to just power through it and just take more bathroom breaks than usual, but that might just add to the stress that your body is already feeling.
Chances are, taking a day or two to just stay home, relax, and sleep will allow you to recover sooner.
See a doctor
If you plan on taking medication, getting in touch with a doctor is important anyway, even if it’s just through teleconsult.
But more importantly, if your symptoms are really bad – as in, you aren’t able to keep any fluids down – or if they don’t improve within a few days, head to the nearest emergency room right away. – Rappler.com
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