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Food Poisoning

In most cases, food poisoning is a response to toxic substances created by bacteria, which prosper on foods that are made in an unclean manner, those that are not refrigerated or foods not cooked properly.

Majority of the food poisoning cases are due to foods being handled with dirty hands or meats not being cooked for sufficient time and at temperatures necessary to eliminate microorganisms. For instance, when a cook prepares hamburger patties and does not wash his hands but proceeds to cut raw vegetables, bacteria present in the meat may pass on and contaminate the vegetables through his unclean hands.

When foods having dressings like mayonnaise are kept outside the refrigerator for a prolonged period they can create problems and, occasionally, lead to food poisoning. The same is true for cooked foods like pizza, which have been taken away from heat and allowed to remain at the normal room temperature for an extended period. Food poisoning may also occur owing to other reasons, such as a fall-out of any toxic effect caused by a poisonous plant, consumption of specific varieties of mushrooms or polluted shellfish. In addition, consumption of uncooked fish or shellfish, foods that were not canned properly, foods that contain eggs, for instance Caesar salad dressing or eggnog prepared at home and/ or foods packed in damaged cans may also result in food poisoning. Even coming in contact with chemical pollutants like pesticides and heavy metals may possibly also cause poisoning.

People suffering from food poisoning may experience a variety of symptoms, most common include vomiting, nausea, pain in the region of the abdomen, diarrhea, fever and fatigue. In fact, food poisoning symptoms usually occur all of a sudden, at times in just a few hours of consuming the soiled food. As the symptoms of food poisoning often remain for many days, in many instances it is erroneously diagnosed as flu. In case your child suffers from an abrupt spell of vomiting, nausea, and/ or diarrhea one or two hours after eating his food, it is likely that he has been affected by food poisoning.

In case you suspect that your child is suffering from food poisoning, you should get in touch with his physician right away, especially if he has fever and his body temperature is above 102°F; he is experiencing severe vomiting; having problems in speaking or breathing; is suffering from serious a type of diarrhea, particularly if the symptom remains for over 24 hours or his stool contains blood; is experiencing pain in the region of the abdomen and/ or has any change in his eyesight.

Supplements and herbs

See age-appropriate dosages of herbal remedies

Specific herbs and supplements are effective in treating food poisoning and also alleviating its symptoms. For instance, drinking ginger tea puts an end to nausea, while cleansing the entire digestive system. In addition, it also replenishes some body fluid lost through vomiting and diarrhea. Ideally, give one dose of ginger tea to your child at least thrice daily for a period of 24 hours after he has been affected by food poisoning.

Giving your child a Chinese herbal blend known as the Curing Pill formula aids in curing nausea, diarrhea as well as stomach aches. Give one dose of this herbal blend to your child thrice or four times daily for the first day of food poisoning or the two subsequent days after the incident of food poisoning. In addition, a tea prepared with the herb goldenseal is also effective in the form of an antibacterial agent and helps to cure diarrhea. Goldenseal tea has a bitter flavour. In case you child is able to tolerate its bitterness, administer one dose of it thrice daily for the first 24 hours after the food poisoning episode.

Prepare a paste using the Japanese umeboshi plum and give it to your child in the form of a tea after diluting it in warm water. Alternately, you may also place it in a little dose (for instance in measure of one-fourth teaspoon) on the tongue of your child and allow him to consume it slowly. This herbal paste has a pleasant flavour and is extremely mild and, hence, the dose may be given quite frequently. It is effective to resolve your child’s stomach upset.

In addition to the above mentioned herbal home remedies, you may also give your child a peppermint tea with a view to bring back his appetite after the food poisoning episode. Ideally, you should give one dose of this herbal tea to your child thrice daily for the initial two or three days after he has been affected by food poisoning.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a wonderful way of treating food poisoning. The homeopathic remedies should be taken in needed frequency depending on the intensity of the symptoms. The remedies may be repeated once in 30 minutes, every hour or more sparsely as the condition improves.

  • Arsenicum
    This homeopathic remedy is effective for treating food poisoning caused by consumption of contaminated fruits (particularly melon), fish, meat, ice cream or canned foods. In addition, it can be given in cases of food poisoning due to drinking alcoholic beverages, cold drinks and consumption of old cheese. It is especially useful for treating ptomaine poisoning (poisoning caused by toxins, especially decayed organic matter).
    Arsenicum is most suitable for people who experience aggressive burning stomach pains and have an intense thirst for cold water. People suffering from diarrhea accompanied by foul smell, passage of dark stool, which is succeeded by fatigue will benefit from this homeopathic remedy. Such people are usually restive and feel weak. Their condition deteriorates when they consume cold food and after midnight, while they feel better after eating warm foods, taking warm drinks or using warm compresses.
  • China
    People suffering from the effects of consuming decomposed fruits, fish, meat or drinking sour milk or wine, beer, contaminated water, tea as well as smoking and consuming alcoholic drinks will benefit from the homeopathic remedy China. It is also effective for treating people who have a distended stomach owing to formation of gas that does not provide any relief after it is passed. You can give China to people who are suffering from excessive loss of body fluids owing to vomiting and diarrhea for prolonged periods and also suffer from sleeplessness. This homeopathic remedy is also useful for irritable people.
    The condition of the patients requiring this homeopathic remedy deteriorates when after eating, after passing stool, when they are touched even slightly, when they are exposed to drafts, during night time and on alternate days. They feel better when there is hard pressure, they wear loose clothes, when they double bend and when they are exposed to warm conditions.
  • Carbo. veg.
    This homeopathic remedy is effective for treating food poisoning caused by consumption of rich foods, decayed foods, butter, fats, poultry, milk, coffee, alcoholic beverages and also owing to bad lifestyles. People requiring Carbo. veg. generally experience low levels of energy accompanied with chilliness; fatigue; insomnia and fainting. They also suffer from belching; feel heavy and filled most of the times. Such patients suffer from colic accompanied by foul-smelling flatus and are prone to double bending.
    The condition of such people deteriorates within about 30 minutes after consuming foods; when their stomach is empty and have a gnawing feeling something like it is packed with pointed stones. Their condition also worsens when they consume very less food; are exposed to warmth and owing to the pressure of their clothes. Their condition improves when they belch and are exposed to cool air.
  • Ipecac
    Food poisoning caused by consumption of berries, unripe fruits, rich foods, sour things, sweets, pork and veal can be cured using this homeopathic remedy. People who require this remedy usually suffer from indigestion and diarrhea and have a feeling like their stomach is always hanging downwards. Ipecac is given to people who complain of unceasing nausea and vomiting food and bile. People requiring this homeopathic remedy usually experience a cutting pain in the region of their navel. Although the tongue of such people is not coated, they always have enough saliva accumulation in their mouth and have frequent hiccoughs.
    The condition of such patients worsens when they consume too much food, eat ice cream or drink sherbet and when they are exposed to heat and dampness. On the other hand, they feel better when they are in the open air.
  • Nux vomica
    This homeopathic remedy is meant for people who have a hunger for all types of rich foods, spices, stimulants, and fats and their condition actually deteriorates when they consume junk or contaminated foods, fats, spices and drink contaminated water, alcohol, beer, coffee and smoking among other things. They commonly suffer from symptoms like pain in the abdominal region and intestines, cramps and also suffer from stomach gas that has an upward pressure.
    People who require Nux vomica are those who are usually short-tempered, workaholic and driven. They exert themselves working and playing, which burns them out. The condition of such people worsens after they eat something, drink cold water, are exposed to cold, odours, and are touched by others. Their condition also deteriorates when they take medicines and during the morning.
  • Veratrum album
    This homeopathic remedy is excellent for treating stomach upsets caused by consumption of alcoholic beverages, fruits, bad meats, having cold drinks and smoking tobacco; in addition to botulism (consumption of canned foods not packed properly and marinated foods). People who respond to Veratrum album are those who have a craving for acidic fruits and ice water.
    People requiring this homeopathic remedy usually suffer from forceful vomiting and retching and they throw up green, yellow or black colored substances. They experience trembling, intense cramps throughout their body and have cold sweats and feel icy cold. Such patients feel very feeble and their weakness may even result in total collapse.
    The condition of people requiring Veratrum album deteriorates when they do not drink sufficient fluids, especially water, and due to movements. They, however, feel better when they have hot drinks, cold milk and are lying down.

Additional things you may do

Complete bed rest is one of the best home remedies for supposed food poisoning. On several occasions, bacteria or parasites are responsible for food poisoning. These microbes enter our body in large numbers, often millions, after an individual has consumed contaminated foods. In order to neutralize the condition, the defence mechanism of our body releases antibodies. This, however, takes some time and, hence, it becomes essential for the food poisoning victims to minimize their activities with a view to provide ample time and rest to the body to nurse itself back to health. Therefore, in case you have a suspicion that you have been affected by food poisoning, it is necessary to check with a physician and seek appropriate prescription medications (antibiotics) and take complete bed rest for a number of days.

It is important to note that for many victims of food poisoning, it is more difficult to deal with the symptoms compared to the condition itself. For instance, you need to follow up spells of vomiting by replenishing the lost fluid - taking them several times in a day. The natural electrolytes of the body also require replacement and, hence, the food poisoning sufferers may prefer to have sports drinks or consumed bottled fortified water. In addition, providing the patients with frozen juice bars and Popsicles between meals may possibly also aid victims of food poisoning to keep themselves hydrated. You may also relieve the consequences of frequent vomiting by providing non-prescription liquid medications that are meant for coating the throat as well as the esophagus. While using antacid tablets may alleviate the condition to some extent, they also have the aptitude to inhibit the natural recuperation process of the stomach.

Limit the diet of the food poisoning victim to just soups and clear liquids to treat their nauseated feelings. This should continue till the time they have recovered from the effects of food poisoning. Some sufferers are also able to curb their nauseated feelings by consuming fresh bread slices and saltine crackers. In addition, it may also be necessary to adjust the temperature of the room to provide utmost comfort to the patients, as too much heat or cold may possibly activate the feeling of nausea. Moreover, nausea may worsen if the patient is under any kind of stress. Therefore, ensure that they are always comfortable and never have any unpleasant exchanges with visitors. You may also play some soothing music to increase the comfort level of such sufferers.

It has been found that chronic diarrhea as well as bloating is typical in several cases of food poisoning. The chemicals, bacteria or parasites ingested by food poisoning victims often create immense disorder throughout their digestive system. In such cases, it really becomes very difficult for the sufferer to digest foods normally because the fluid level of their body as well as the bloodstream is altered to combat the assaulting microbes. Even after the bacteria or parasites are dead, they usually leave behind gaseous or acidic wastes in the digestive tract. When an individual is suffering from a mild to serious type of food poisoning, the sufferers may possibly start doubting if they recuperate ever and their digestive system will again start functioning as usual.

If you are treating bloating and diarrhea with home remedies, you need to ensure that the remedies comprise non-prescription drugs that have been particularly prepared for dealing with serious symptoms. In other words, you should use the medications in doses having maximum potencies. The microorganisms that are to be blamed for the majority of the food poisoning cases have a propensity to extract moisture from the nearby tissues and pass it to the intestines. The presence of such excessive fluids in the intestines actually puts off usual solid body waste formation. Diarrhea medicines contain elements that are meant to bring back the appropriate fluid balance inside the digestive tract. Till the restoration of such balance of fluids, which takes some time to occur, victims of food poisoning ought to try and keep themselves hydrated in the best possible way.

Perhaps, the best and most effective way to treat food poisoning with home remedies is to avoid consuming contaminated foods. Therefore, it is important that you should always store the foods in a way that they are not accessible to insects and also do not come in contact with chemicals. In addition, you should not make use of the same cutting board to slice raw as well as cooked foods. Foods that are not meant to be served right away should always be kept covered and stored in a refrigerator. Most importantly, always ensure that meats are properly cooked prior to serving them.

While hiring caterers for extensive or large-scale supply of foods ensure that you only use the services of licensed caterers. Make it a point to throw away all foods that have become contaminated or foods whose appearance, smell and flavour has changed noticeably from different other batches. It is important to bear in mind that contaminated foods are not only responsible for several cases of food poisoning. Food poisonings are also caused owing to negligence and mishandling of foods by humans.

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