A few years ago, my boyfriend and I went for a romantic gateway by the sea. The memory of our walks and ice cream by the water will always stay with us. Unfortunately, so will the memory of the violent food poisoning we both got that same night.
I had never experienced food poisoning before and it's definitely not something I would wish on my worst enemy! Luckily, that experience is what led me to my nutrition studies and consequent career, which means I can now give you a few tips on how to get over food poisoning fast and take care of your body, should this ever happen to you.
What is food poisoning?
Food poisoning happens when we ingest food contaminated by a harmful parasite, bacteria or virus, and the symptoms can vary from nausea and diarrhoea to fever and cramps.
It goes a bit like this: “Ooh, these shrimps look delicious” – little did you know though that they had not been refrigerated properly, and a few hours later you’re glued to the toilet swearing you’ll never have seafood ever again (but you will eventually, don’t worry!).
How to get rid of food poisoning
1. First thing’s first, you want to make sure you are keeping hydrated and take electrolytes, as they might be lost through vomiting and diarrhoea. Phone a friend or send your partner or roommate to get you some at the pharmacy, as you won’t be going anywhere for a while. This will help you prevent dehydration. Start small by sipping every few minutes and be gentle with your body.
2. Avoid solid foods for a few hours to help your body settle down. In addition to water, or electrolytes (which can be bought in powders and added to water, or found in sports drinks), vegetable or chicken broth is also a good idea.
3. When you feel like eating solid foods again, start with easy to digest ones such as rice, toast, soda crackers or a banana. Foods containing fat and protein will be harder to digest, so avoid them for now. Also, when you have food poisoning try to avoid caffeine and alcohol which could make an already sensitive digestive system worse.
4. Remember, this is not the moment to play hero and get back to work asap. You might probably feel fatigued from the dehydration and the lack of sleep, as often this joyful event happens in the middle of the night after a delicious dinner, so allow your body to properly rest and recharge. Food poisoning is not contagious from one person to another, and usually lasts for 24 hours – but with the right remedies you can cut that time in almost half.
5. Give your gut a little extra love and try some probiotics to help replace and rebalance your intestinal flora. Two specific strains Lactobacillus GG and S. BOULARDII, have been found to be particularly helpful in cases of diarrhea.
How to prevent food poisoning after eating something bad
So it happened, you had food poisoning and you are now on the road to recovery. Yay! Looking forward, to avoid getting food poisoning right after you've eaten contaminated food and in the future, make sure you practice a few simple rules of thumb:
1. Always wash your hands thoroughly if you touched raw meat or fish.
2. Wash the kitchen tops and utensils you used to handle your food.
3. Make sure you use different chopping boards for raw food to avoid the potential contamination from food that has not being cooked to anything else you might be preparing for your meal.
4. Ensure you cook your food thoroughly, avoiding pink meat inside chicken, sausages and beef.
5. Make sure the food you’re eating hasn’t gone over its 'use by' date.
6. Rest! Your body will be fragile after you've eaten something bad so make sure you give yourself enough time to recover to avoid getting sick again.
Now you’re all set with a few more tools to know how to take care of that body of yours should you get food poisoning. Good luck!
To save these helpful tips, Pin This!
1. The Food Standards Agency: www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/multimedia/pdfs/fds2015.pdf