Amber Belt, ND
Summertime holiday weekends, like the Fourth of July, are times of celebration and a lot of cooking and feasting. Unfortunately, if food is undercooked or left out too long it can result in food poisoning. In fact, food poisoning is among the top 10 reasons that people visit the Emergency Department over the July 4th holiday.
Symptoms of food poisoning include loss of appetite (duh!), stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, muscle aches, and weakness. Most food poisoning resolves in 12-48 hours and can be managed at home, but if you have severe abdominal pain, severe dehydration, blood in your vomit or stool, or more than three days of symptoms you will want to consider seeking higher care.
One of the main issues everyone runs into with food poisoning is the ability to keep anything down, especially supplements and mediations in capsule or tablet form. This is why we lean on remedies in a liquid form or, in the case of homeopathic remedies, dissolvable pellets.
Here are a few of my favorite strategies to resolve food poisoning quickly!
Used in the emergency department for certain types of poisoning or overdose, activated charcoal can also help absorb toxins from food gone bad and decrease bloating.
Food-grade bentonite clay also absorbs toxins from the nasty chemicals that can be released with food poisoning.
This powerhouse herb is anti-nausea and anti-spasmodic. And it comes in many forms to tempt a tender tummy: tea, ginger brew, ginger candy, tincture, etc. We feature many different forms of ginger in our Natural First Aid Kits.
Certain probiotic strains such as saccharomyces boulardii can squeeze out the bad bugs and re-establish proper flora, reducing and shortening the length of food poisoning symptoms.
Nux vomica (homeopathic)
This homeopathic remedy is a go-to for food poisoning and overindulgence in food or alcohol, particularly if the person is retching but can’t vomit and get any relief. Check out Nux vomica in The Kid’s Kit!
This homeopathic remedy is particularly useful for food poisoning with intense nausea and vomiting, especially if the vomiting doesn’t relieve the nausea. The Kid’s Kit features Ipecac, along with other items that can help food poisoning.
When we have diarrhea, our first instinct is to shut it down. But, personally, I’m not a fan of Immodium. This anti-diarrheal will, of course, stop diarrhea but if my body is trying to flush out toxins from a food poisoning bug I don’t necessarily want to put the brakes on that process. If I want a more gentle way to slow down diarrhea, I will mix anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of carob powder in water to provide some relief. We include carob powder in our Home & Office Kit..
IV Fluids & Anti-Nausea Medications
Sometimes, food poisoning causes a person to become extremely dehydrated. Dehydration only prolongs the nausea, pain, and cramping that comes along with food poisoning. At times like these, an IV that provides hydration can speed recovery. Of course, an IV can be obtained in the ED but there are a lot of options for mobile IV therapy too! At my brick and mortar practice, Aspen Integrative Medical Center, our nurse will go to a patient’s house to provide the hydration that they need to promote a speedy recovery.
Medications can be helpful, too. The most helpful anti-nausea meds can come in the form of an IV, an injection, a dissolvable tablet, or a rectal suppository. Over the counter medications, like bismuth salicylate (Pepto), can be helpful and found in a liquid or chewable form. Just be warned that some people are allergic and that bismuth can turn your stool black. Other anti-nausea medications, such as Zofran and Compazine, can be very helpful but must be obtained through a healthcare provider.
If you’d like more content from me and from and Sage Sirona, be sure to sign up for our email list. Click here to join!
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes and is not medical advice. Dr. Belt is a doctor, but she is not YOUR doctor. Consult a trained naturopathic doctor/functional medicine doctor to ensure safety and suitability based on your health and history.