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Food poisoning (also called foodborne disease) is any illness resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, whether by bacteria (Salmonella or Escherichia coli), viruses (Norovirus), and parasites that contaminate food or by toxins (chemical toxins such as pesticides and medicines or natural toxic substances such as those contained in poisonous mushrooms and reef fish).
Food poisoning usually results from improper handling of food. Good hygiene practices before, during, and after food preparation are essential.
Symptoms of food poisoning usually begin 1-3 days after eating contaminated food, but they can also start only a few hours after the ingestion or even some weeks later. The main symptoms include:
- feeling sick,
- vomiting (the most common symptom),
- and stomach cramps.
Foods particularly susceptible to contamination include:
- raw meat and poultry,
- raw eggs (or foods containing them),
- raw or uncooked fish or shellfish,
- raw sprouts,
- unpasteurized milk, juices, and ciders,
- and foods like cooked sliced meats, pâté, soft cheeses and pre-packed sandwiches.
Some high-risk groups of people are:
- older adults (as you get older, your immune system may not respond as effectively as when you were younger),
- pregnant women (changes in metabolism may increase the risk of food poisoning and your reaction may be more severe during this period),
- infants and young children (their immune systems have not fully developed),
- and people with chronic diseases (diabetes, liver disease or AIDS, as well as receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer), as they have a lower immune response.
For most people, the illness has no need without the need for treatment within a few days. However, some types of food poisoning may last a week or more.
Here you have some food poisoning remedies:
- Replacement of lost fluids and minerals such as sodium, potassium, and calcium (Oral rehydration salts or ORSs are recommended for people vulnerable to the effects of dehydration because they help to replace salt, glucose and other important minerals lost through dehydration; they are available in pharmacies and you have to dissolve them in water to take them).
- Let your stomach settle (do not eat or drink for a few hours).
- Eat ice chips and take small sips of water (you might also try drinking clear soda, clear broths or non-caffeinated sports drinks; adults should try to drink at least 8-16 glasses of liquid every day).
- Gradually begin to eat easy-to-digest foods (toast, gelatin, bananas and rice) and stop eating if you feel sick again.
- Take probiotics (plain white yogurt with active culture, for example).
- Avoid certain foods until you feel better (dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and fatty or highly seasoned foods).
- Get rest.
- Do not use anti-diarrheal medications (they may slow elimination of bacteria or toxins from your system).
Put a hot-water bottle on your abdomen to ease the pain of cramps.
Add a tablespoon of sugar to a glass of water or a cup of decaffeinated tea and drink it instead sports drinks.
You can drink one cup of ginger tea after eating lunch or dinner to stop the symptoms of food poisoning.
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger.
- 1 cup water or a few drops ginger juice.
- 1 teaspoon honey or a piece of raw ginger.
- Boil the ginger in a cup of water for a few minutes, add sugar and then you can drink your tea.
- You can also add a few drops of ginger juice to one teaspoon of honey and swallow it several times a day to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Also eating raw ginger will help you digest your food more quickly.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar will kill the bacteria, which will give you instant relief.
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
- 1 cup hot water.
- Mix the of apple cider vinegar in a cup of hot water.
- Drink this mixture before eating any solid food. If you prefer, you can drink two tablespoons of undiluted apple cider vinegar.
As vinegar, the acid in lemons helps kill bacteria.
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
- A pinch of sugar.
- Add a pinch of sugar to the teaspoon of lemon juice.
- Drink this solution 2-3 times a day.
- If you prefer, you can sip a cup of warm water with lemon.
- 1 garlic clove
- Or 1 tablespoon garlic oil
- 1 tablespoon soybean oil
- Eat one fresh garlic clove and swallowing it with water.
- If you prefer, mix the garlic oil and the soybean oil and then rub it on your stomach after eating.
To prevent food poisoning you should:
- wash your hands, utensils and food surfaces often,
- keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods,
- cook foods to a safe temperature (ground beef should be cooked to 160 °F, steaks and roast to at least 145 °F, pork to at least 160 °F, chicken and turkey to 165 °F and fish is generally well-cooked at 145 °F),
- refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly,
- defrost food safely (not at room temperature; the safest way to thaw foods is to defrost them in the refrigerator, but you can also do it in the microwave or running cold water over the food),
- and throw it out when in doubt (for example, food left at room temperature too long may contain bacteria or toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking).