What Causes Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning doesn’t actually mean you were poisoned, it simply means there were some bad bacteria, viruses or parasites in the food you ate.
Sometimes this results in a 24-hour bout of diarrhea and vomiting that clears up on its own, but in other cases – depending on the type of pathogen and the foundational health of the person – food poisoning can lead to organ failure, paralysis, neurological impairment, blindness, stillbirths and even death.
If the illness lasts more than a few days or there is blood in your stool you should consult your doctor immediately.
Some types of food poisoning can produce symptoms within a few hours of the contaminated food being eaten, while others may not occur for some days.
S. Aureus or B. Cereus will typically cause illness between 2-12 hours after the meal. Salmonella or Clostridium Perfringens usually cause illness between 12-24 hours afterwards. But infections with Campylobacters (one of the most common causes of food poisoning) are slow to manifest and illness may occur a week or more after the infected food has been eaten.
Natural Remedy For Food Poisoning
My treatment protocol for food poisoning is not based on suppressing your body’s natural healing mechanism. We do NOT want to stop the diarrhea and vomiting, because those are the most effective methods your body has for clearing these damaging microorganisms from your body FAST. So we want to work with your body and assist it to accomplish it’s healing as quickly as possible.
If you are vomiting (and/or have diarrhea) it is because your body is trying to expel pathogens (bad bugs) as quickly as possible before they get a chance to damage your body. So the natural treatment for food poisoning consists of three parts:
- The first thing we do is to help our body flush these pathogenic viruses or bacteria as fast as we can.
- The second objective is to avoid dehydration.
- And lastly, we want to implant as many good bugs (probiotics) as possible, to give our body additional soldiers to use to end the battle quickl
Step One – Water Flushing
Drink a glass of room temperature filtered water with 10 drops of potassium iodide in it. Most people will tell you to stop drinking anything once the vomiting starts. However, if our goal is to assist the body, then the body will be able to flush the pathogens far more quickly if we help it by flooding the stomach with clean water. Adding 10 drops of potassium iodide (SSKI) helps to kill the foodborne pathogens at the same time.
Potassium iodide is a natural mineral that has long been used to purify dirty drinking water and treat infection. I have used it on both myself and my kids and it has not irritated, or caused any discomfort or burning in the stomach or throat. Whilst we have no research or test data on this practice, my anecdotal evidence suggests it will shorten the duration of the illness.
Continue drinking water this way until you are vomiting up nothing but water. As long as food particles are still coming up, keep chugging the glasses of water with potassium iodide added. I find if you drink the water quickly, you can usually get down the whole glassful before you vomit again. You may want to do this near the toilet as it may come up again fast.
If you don’t have any potassium iodide (SSKI), then just drink room temperature, clean water until you are vomiting up nothing but water.
Then stop drinking anything and just rest for two hours. If you (or your child) go to sleep, allow yourself to sleep until you naturally awaken. If you keep vomiting, that’s fine, but don’t do any more water flushing.
Of course, you will likely be voiding out your colon at the same time. So for a child with food poisoning, you may want to make them up a little bed of towels to lie on (as they lose strength quickly), right near the toilet to avoid messy accidents (if they can’t get to the bathroom on time). And then the towels can be easily spot-washed and then thrown in the washing machine.
Step Two – Timed Water Rehydration
Once you have not vomited for an hour or two (use your intuition to gauge exactly when), get a glass of filtered water and a clock or watch and drink ONE SIP every five minutes. This usually gives enough time for the water to be absorbed, without the volume that triggers vomiting. If you have a sip and immediately vomit, then wait another hour and try again.
While unpleasant, vomiting is usually not dangerous and rarely results in significant dehydration. Keep in mind it usually takes at least 12 hours of severe vomiting and diarrhea to make a child or adult significantly dehydrated.
If you suspect that you (or your child) IS dehydrated, see the section below on how to diagnose dehydration and then how to rehydrate if you just cannot stop the vomiting.
Step Three – Probiotic Army
When you have finished that first glass of water, it’s now time to add some good soldiers (probiotics) to your water, so you can continue to rehydrate, but also help your body fight the pathogens that made you sick in the first place.
Get another glass of room temperature, filtered water, but this time add Natren powdered probiotics to it. Add 1 tsp. of each species (for children under 12 use 1/2 tsp of each): Megodophilus, Bifido Factor, Digesta-Lac and use the dairy-based, or non-dairy based, whichever your body normally prefers. Mix all 3 together in one glass of filtered, room temperature water and sip through a straw. For babies, ONLY give Life Start and start with 1/4 tsp. in water or breastmilk (no formula yet).
Folow the same timed procedure: Drink ONE SIP every 5 minutes. Use a straw if you can – especially if using for a child who may not like the taste. Continue with one sip every 5 minutes until you have finished the glass of probiotics.
Then get another glass of probiotic water and do exactly the same thing again. Keep going with this procedure until you can drink the probiotic water normally, without waiting 5 minutes between sips.
When you have drunk 5 glasses of probiotic water without vomiting, you are ready to try some chicken broth. It is MUCH better if it is homemade chicken broth (be sure to use organic, free range chickens) and contains the gelatin which has a long history of therapeutic use dating back to ancient China.
Easily Tolerated Foods After Vomiting
Here is my list of easily tolerated foods to introduce gradually after a bout of gastroenteritis, food poisoning, or any other vomiting bug. These are given in order of most easily tolerated first:
- Chicken broth – preferably homemade
- Chicken broth with rice
- Sliced, peeled apple (chew well)
- Rice (soy sauce, butter, salt okay)
- Boiled, scrambled or poached eggs (with butter, salt only)
- Porridge (water and sugar only – do not add milk)
- Cooked carrots
- Baked sweet potato (with butter okay)
Ongoing Therapeutic Probiotics
Once you are back on solid foods, be sure to keep going with daily probiotics for at least 3 months. If you can swallow capsules, then you can switch to the Natren Healthy Trinity capsules (one per day), if you wish. Once you’ve had an intestinal infection, you need to re-build a healthy gut flora to make yourself strong and resistant to further, secondary or opportunistic infection.
You need to make sure the probiotic you are taking is of therapeutic quality and capable of restoring your gut flora, to learn what to look for and how to select a potent, therapeutic probiotic (and why I recommend Natren), see my eBook, What You Need To Know About Probiotics.
How To Tell If You Are Dehydrated
Pinch some skin on the back of your hand for 2 seconds, then release. If the skin immediately returns to normal, you are not dehydrated. If the skin stays pinched or bunched, then you are dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration include eyes that do not produce tears, or going longer than 8 hours without urinating.
Use A Water Retention Enema to Hydrate Easily
If you or your child are dehydrated, you don’t necessarily have to rush off to the hospital for intravenous rehydration. You can easily rehydrate a baby, child, or adult, using filtered water in a baby enema bulb. These can be purchased at any pharmacy and most grocery stores. Since the tip in very small, it does not hurt or irritate the anus and is much more convenient and quicker to use then an enema bag.
You can rehydrate through the colon because that is one of the primary functions of the colon – to absorb water. This is a fabulous way to avoid a trip to the hospital for intravenous rehydration and most likely our grandmothers or great-grandmothers used this method whenever needed.
Notice this is called a water retention enema – that means the goal is to have the water retained and absorbed by the colon. NOT to flush or clean the colon and have the water expelled – as enemas are usually used.
However, if your diarrhea is still so severe that you cannot retain any water in your colon – even just a few tablespoons at a time – then you will need to go to the hospital for intravenous rehydration.
How To Administer A Water Rehydration Enema:
1. Lie on your left side, with a waterproof pad (or towel) underneath to catch any leakage. Completely squeeze all the air out of the enema bulb and keep the bulb tightly squashed and folded until you immerse the tip fully into a large glass of filtered water. Then release the bulb and it will suck up the water.
2. Lubricate the anus and the tip of the enema bulb liberally with comfrey salve, or vitamin E oil. Insert the enema tip gently and slowly into the rectum (about 1 inch) and then very slowly squeeze the enema bulb steadily to slowly flow the water into the rectum.
NOTE: Do not squeeze the water in quickly, or it creates urgency to expel it!
3. Keep the pressure on the enema bulb constant as you squeeze it, or it will suck the water back in – and likely some air as well. Then when you squeeze it again, you will be putting air into the colon; which is uncomfortable and will cause the colon to expel the water. So squeeze the enema bulb slowly, so that the water flows in steadily, yet slowly.
4. If you are giving a water retention enema to a baby or child, feel free to buy 2 baby enema bulbs and give the enema to yourself first. This will enable you to know what it feels like, how slow to go and also ensure you are good at it when you give it to your child. Unless you can sterilize between uses, I prefer to keep enema equipment separate and not to re-use for different members of the family – to prevent any transmission of infection.
5. After the enema bulb is empty of water, KEEP THE BULB SQUEEZED as you slowly withdraw the enema tip from the rectum. AFTER you have fully withdrawn the enema bulb, you can release the enema bulb (and it will immediately suck in air).
6. Remove the tip from the bulb and wash both in hot soapy water, then air dry until the next application.
7. Keep checking for dehydration and re-administer the water retention enema every 20 minutes until you are no longer dehydrated, or until you are able to drink water by mouth without vomiting.