If that chicken sandwich tasted or smelled slightly off, you could be in for a world of gastrointestinal hurt. Food poisoning affects some 76 million Americans each year, according to MedlinePlus. Food poisoning occurs because what you put in your mouth has been contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites. At first you may be besieged by a host of unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and the fervent wish to be rendered unconscious so you won't have to suffer through another minute. Food poisoning typically resolves within 48 hours, says MayoClinic.com. However, there are ways to expedite your recovery.
Give your tummy a break. Avoid eating and drinking for a few hours, advises MayoClinic.com. Get plenty of rest while you're at it–food poisoning can leave you feeling tired and dehydrated.
Hydrate. The best thing you can do to treat food poisoning is to increase your liquid intake whenever you can keep something down. MayoClinic.com advises sucking on ice chips. Alternatively, take small sips of water, clear decaffeinated soda or a sports drink.
Try ginger. Integrative physician Dr. Andrew Weil says that his "top remedy" for nausea is any type of ginger. Mix a 1/2 tsp. of powdered ginger with water, take two ginger capsules, nibble on ginger candy or sip on ginger ale. Make sure that you use real ginger–many soda pops contain only artificial ginger flavoring.
Ease back into eating. Once your stomach settles, MayoClinic.Com advises choosing bland foods that are easy on your stomach, such as crackers, toast, bananas, plain rice and gelatin. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and fatty or spicy foods. If you feel your tummy roiling after you eat, take another break.
Things You'll Need
Ice chips or water
Clear, decaffeinated soda, broth or sports drink
If you can't find real ginger ale, Dr. Weil advises mixing ginger syrup with seltzer water.
Don't take over-the-counter medications for diarrhea that contain loperamide or diphenoxylate with atropine–these can slow down the rate at which bacteria and other germs are expelled from your body. The Centers for Disease Control recommends drinking oral rehydration solutions for severe diarrhea, such as Ceralyte, Pedialyte or Oralyte to prevent dehydration.
Avoid using nicotine when you have food poisoning.