While getting food poisoning may seem more unlikely nowadays, given the higher standards around cooking and food safety, there is still a chance that you may get blindsided by that seemingly fine dish that now has you hurling in the bathroom. Food poisoning is among the most miserable experiences anyone can have, and while it is a common experience, not everyone knows how to deal with it. This health condition typically sets in within a few hours of consuming the contaminated food, with the severity and duration of its symptoms depending on several factors, namely the type of germs in the food, how much of them you were exposed to, and the effectiveness of your immune system at fighting it off.
Food Poisoning Timeline
Common food poisoning cases generally occur between four to 24 hours after ingestion. Still, it is not always that quick since certain foodborne illnesses reproduce in your system before symptoms show. One example is the Hepatitis A virus, which can take 15-50 days before it reveals itself.
There is no straight answer to how long you can expect food poisoning to last since it depends on the person. Everyone responds differently to bacteria, viruses, and parasites, so even when a family eats the same contaminated food, how long before everyone gets better will vary.
That said, physicians note that healthy people usually have to wait 12-48 hours for their bodies to eliminate most foodborne infections and take care of food poisoning by themselves. However, medications may be necessary for other foodborne illnesses; getting an online medical consultation is the best way to know if this is the case for you.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
The symptoms of food poisoning can be dangerous and dramatic once they take over completely and only go away when the germs causing them are completely expelled from the body. The most common ones include the following:
- Stomach pain and cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
While experiencing these is unpleasant, it is a sign that your body is working to get you back to health by purging the offending toxins.
Steps to Relieve The Symptoms
Food poisoning is a miserable experience, but healthy people rarely need medical intervention to cure it. All they have to focus on is keeping their food and liquids down and letting the illness run its course.
1. Stay hydrated
Preventing dehydration is your top priority when you have food poisoning since you will be losing a lot of liquids from diarrhoea and vomiting. Besides water, it is recommended to drink non-isotonic fluids that contain sugar, salt, or electrolytes, such as juice, broth, ginger ale, and Gatorade. These drinks stay in the body and are less likely to go straight to the kidneys, where they will get purged right out through urinating.
Avoid drinking these beverages in one go and start with small sips to be sure they stay down and not go back up. Drink them at room temperature since cold beverages do not agree with an upset stomach. If you have a medical condition that keeps you from consuming too much sodium, such as liver, heart, or kidney disease, consult a doctor for advice.
2. Eat whenever possible
Foods that are easy on the stomach are the best options for people going through food poisoning, which include oatmeal, noodle soup, crackers, potatoes, rice pudding, and so on. The BRAT diet, which emphasises Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast, are bland foods that can help settle your stomach. Avoid spicy, fried, or greasy foodstuffs, as they will be more challenging for your digestive system. Take things slowly, and do not force down anything if you do not feel like eating.
When to Call the Doctor
It is essential to call for medical assistance if your symptoms are so severe that you cannot keep any fluids down. Healthcare providers in the hospital can administer IV fluids to ensure you stay hydrated and regain lost electrolytes. You should also see a physician if you:
- Take medications that inhibit your immune system
- Have certain illnesses that inhibit your immune system
- Notice blood in your vomit or diarrhoea
- Have blurry vision
- Feel lightheaded or dizzy
- Experience confusion or delirium
- Develop a high and persistent fever
- Are not urinating or have dark urine
- Are pregnant
Getting food poisoning will always be a bad time, but thankfully it subsides as quickly as it shows up. Healthy people simply have to stay dehydrated and energised until their body takes care of the illness in no time. However, suppose the symptoms persist longer than usual. In that case, it is time to call on a medical professional through the MYCLNQ app, which connects you to a certified doctor hassle-free wherever you may be. Contact us today to learn more details!