To remedy food poisoning, one needs chamomile, thyme, ginger, peppermint or fennel tea. Drink lots of water and replenish salts and sugars to fight nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gastroenteritis.
Food poisoning is among the most prevalent health threats in the world. Next to the common cold, food poisoning afflicts up to 90 million North Americans annually. The most common result of food poisoning is gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the lower digestive tract. However, food poisoning also results in nervous system complications. Food poisoning can be remedied with ginger, herbal teas, arrowroot, rehydration and other countermeasures.
Causes of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is generally described as bacterial or viral contamination of food. The most common microbes are Clostridium Botulinum (botulism), Clostridium Perfringens, Escherichia Coli (E. Coli), Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella, Staphylococcus Aureus and Trichinella.
These organisms thrive mostly in raw or undercooked meat, contaminated dairy products, raw vegetables, infected animals, unpasteurized milk, contaminated ground beef, even roasted beef, improperly packed and ill-sterilized canned products, garlic bottled in oil, some eggs and egg products, and unsanitary food handlers.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
Symptoms of food poisoning include fever, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, enlarged liver and spleen, double vision, muscular coordination difficulties (involving chewing, swallowing, breathing and speech), progressive muscular weakening and paralysis that might lead to respiratory failure and ultimately to death, bloating and flatulence for eight to 24 hours, seizures, eye inflammation, swollen lymph nodes, meningitis with headache, stiff neck, abdominal cramps, and shock electrolyte imbalances in extreme cases.
Precautions to Avoid Food Poisoning
Prevention has always been the better method in approaching any health hazard, not just food poisoning. The following is a list of precautionary measures that are practical and commonsensical:
• Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and, if possible, warm water after using the toilet, especially before preparing food or eating.
• Keep one chopping board for the exclusive use of raw meats. Wash thoroughly after every use.
• Keep pets away from food or food preparation surfaces.
• Keep the kitchen, the fridge, the freezer and chopping boards always clean.
• Disinfect sponges and dishwashing brushes at least twice a week. A diluted bleach solution is ideal for disinfection.
• Defrost food completely in the refrigerator, not outside of it. Do not refreeze.
• Cook raw meats thoroughly.
• Store all perishable foods at 5oC or colder.
• Rinse fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating or cooking.
• Throw away food that have started to smell, or if fungus has started growing on it. Be especially careful with poultry and shellfish by checking them constantly.
Home Remedy and Treatment for Food Poisoning
The following are home remedies and treatment for food poisoning:
• Rehydrate – Dehydration poses an imminent danger after diarrhea and vomiting. Children, people who are sick, those who have a weak immune system and the elderly are at particular risk for dehydration. The best course of action is to drink lots of water or water-based fluids. If vomiting persists, take fluids in sips, not in gulps.
• Replace salts and sugars lost through diarrhea. Try this concoction: Squeeze the juice of two oranges, add ½ teaspoon salt and two teaspoons honey. Mix in 500 ml water. Drink a glass of it every half hour, in sips, until conditions improve.
• Drink herbal teas like chamomile, thyme, ginger, peppermint or fennel. These herbs are mildly antiseptic and relieve stomach cramps.
• A warm bath in essential oils – Sprinkle three drops each of geranium and ginger oils, and two of peppermint oil into warm bath water. Soak for about twenty minutes.
• Ginger – Ginger is the prime home remedy for nausea and vomiting. Try chewing fresh root ginger, or drink ginger tea. A word of caution: Avoid ginger remedy if you are taking blood-thinning medication, or if you have gallstones.
• Arrowroot – Mix a tablespoon of arrowroot with water to form a smooth paste. Add 50 ml of boiling water and stir to thicken. Flavor with honey or lemon juice. Drink the mixture at regular intervals throughout the day. This concoction helps in solidifying bowel contents.
In the case of babies, weak individuals and the elderly, a doctor should be notified at the first signs of food poisoning. Even for relatively healthy individuals, medical attention is needed if vomiting is severe, or if there are difficulties in breathing or swallowing. If diarrhea lasts for several days, or if stool seems bloody, a physician should intervene.
1801 Home Remedies: Trustworthy Treatments for Everyday Health Problems. Reader’s Digest. Australia. 2007. 472 pages.
Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal: An A to Z Guide to Safe and Healthy Eating. The Reader’s Digest. 2004, Montreal, Canada. 416 pages. Hardbound.
Photo by Delphine Menard at Flickr.com
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.