Food poisoning, or gastroenteritis, is a disease of the gastrointestinal tract. It is mostly caused by viruses or bacteria that can enter the body through unwashed hands, dirty vegetables and fruits, or stale food.
There are also foods that the body can tolerate harder and their freshness should be monitored especially carefully, for example, fresh mussels and oysters. But food poisoning does not occur because “something has stuck to the stomach.” The classic symptoms of viral gastroenteritis are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, and general weakness. A person in this state feels bad. The incubation period can be from several hours to days. The maximum gastroenteritis can last 10 days, but the most intense symptoms are normally observed in the first three days.
What to do during food poisoning?
TO DRINK WATER. This is the golden rule. The most serious complication that can occur due to food poisoning is dehydration. Viruses or bacteria need to go through a life cycle and leave, that is, leave the body. This is due in part to nausea or diarrhea, during which a person loses a lot of fluid. If you do not replenish the cells with water in time, then dehydration occurs. You can even die from it if you do not see a doctor in time. Insufficient water can also complicate the course of the disease.
During the disease, you need to drink at least 50 ml of water per kilogram of body weight. Even if you are not thirsty and have to drink water by force. Weak herbal tea is also allowed, but it is still better to drink regular drinking water. You can also drink a glass of coke. There are no such prescriptions in international protocols, but this drink can suppress nausea, and abroad it is often recommended during poisoning or, for example, nausea in pregnant women. Drinking electrolytes such as Regidron and Humana Electrolyte can also be used to restore water-salt balance.
SYMPTOMATIC TREATMENT. If you have a fever, take ibuprofen or paracetamol. There are abdominal pains – painkillers will also help. Abdominal cramps are very strong – the doctor may prescribe antispasmodics, but you should not prescribe them yourself. Activated charcoal and other absorbing drugs can be used, but they do not play a major role in the treatment of food poisoning. It is better to work on filling the body with water and help it remove the virus on its own.
PROBIOTICS. In the case of gastroenteritis, the effectiveness of the use of a certain type of probiotics – saccharomycetes Bullard – has been proven. They are contained in the drug “Enteral”.
How do recover quickly?
Unfortunately, there is no drug that can be taken and will immediately get better. The cycle of entry and exit of the virus into the cells takes some time, it is impossible to break this algorithm. How long gastroenteritis lasts depends on how much of the virus we ate with the food and how healthy the person is. Chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract complicate the course of the disease.
So I advise you to just drink plenty of water, this is the most important point during poisoning. Water helps to overcome symptoms faster and recover. I would also recommend starting probiotics and relieving symptoms from the beginning. But it still takes time for the body to return to normal.
When to call a doctor?
If you have a family doctor, you should tell him as soon as the symptoms appear. The specialist will give advice and monitor the condition.
If you do not have a family doctor, you can call 103 and consult a dispatcher. He will be able to objectively assess the symptoms and say whether it is appropriate to use drugs and will be able to give general recommendations.
Symptoms that should be alarming are vomiting or diarrhea that does not stop, low heart rate, fever, which is not confused with antipyretic drugs, and very strong abdominal cramps. In such conditions, you should immediately go to the hospital or call an ambulance.
A doctor’s consultation is also needed if the symptoms do not subside after three days. These are the “red flags” that indicate that this is not a common food poisoning. For example, such acute symptoms may be characteristic of cholera, typhoid fever, or salmonellosis. Such diseases require specific treatment, including the use of antibiotics.
How can I protect myself?
WASH HANDS. Carefully, often and with soap. Before washing vegetables and fruits, before and after meals, before and after the toilet, after walking on the street, and before cooking.
IT IS GOOD TO WASH VEGETABLES. They should be thoroughly washed under running water or soaked in water with soda.
And if it is seafood, then it should be as fresh as possible. If the product does not smell very good – it is better not to use it.
MONITOR THE QUALITY OF THE FOOD WE EAT. Eat-in tested places. Shawarma near the subway is a health risk. We must choose the quality of our food, a quality and safe method of cooking, and the purity of the conditions in which we cook. Hygiene comes first.
TREAT CHRONIC GASTROINTESTINAL DISEASES. People who have digestive problems system, more vulnerable to a variety of gastroenteritis.