Food poisoning occurs due to consumption of contaminated food. It is also a generic term used to describe all illnesses and diseases caused by infection related to food and drinks. These illnesses are usually found among people who do not practice food safety and hygienic habits. It can be mild, or so severe as to threaten one's life.
Causes and Symptoms
Food poisoning can be caused due to a variety of reasons, the most common being bacterial infection caused by salmonella. Secondly, infection caused due to viruses (like norovirus), certain parasites, lead and mercury poisoning, etc., are other leading causes. Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, headache, fever, abdominal pain and cramps, etc., are the major symptoms of food poisoning.
If the aforementioned symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, you need to consult the doctor immediately. The doctor will prescribe medication to get rid of the infection and also alleviate the symptoms. If infection is caused due to bacteria, anti-bacterial medications will be prescribed. Secondly, there are several medications that can be obtained over-the-counter, and are effective in treating symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
In minor cases, the following remedies can be helpful in alleviating the symptoms.
- Firstly, do not eat any solid food as long as vomiting or diarrhea persists.
- Excess vomiting and diarrhea leads to dehydration. You should drink clear and pure water or electrolyte drinks at regular intervals to regain the lost electrolytes (do not have water in excess).
- You should keep away from strong odors, foods, excess heat or cold, etc., as it can trigger nausea.
- Once diarrhea stops, you can have a bland diet consisting foods like potatoes, rice, toast, fresh fruit juices, herbal tea, etc.
Food poisoning can be prevented by following simple measures. Firstly, it is essential to maintain cleanliness and hygiene in order to prevent the contamination of food and drinks. The kitchen should be kept clean, and the person cooking food should follow clean hygienic habits. Secondly, raw, uncooked, moderately cooked food should be avoided (specially poultry and other non-veg foods). Unused food and leftovers should be discarded immediately. Foods that need to be stored for a longer period should be refrigerated, frozen, and preserved properly. It is also advised not to eat and drink in unhygienic conditions.
One should remember that these home remedies should be considered only if the symptoms are mild. It is advised to consult a doctor immediately if severe symptoms are observed that do not subside within a couple of hours. Take care!
Disclaimer: This article is meant for educational purposes only. It is not to be substituted for doctor's consultation and treatment.