I suspect potential food poisoning. Ride it out or try to 'squash' it?
September 9, 2010 8:49 PM   Subscribe

I suspect potential food poisoning. Ride it out or try to 'squash' it?

I ate something a couple hours ago, and for the first time in a looong time, I am feeling pretty darn nauseated. The last time I felt like this, I had chills and maybe a fever, and ultimately couldn't eat a damn thing for a few days, but couldn't actually vomit even though I hung around the restroom for most of night. Eventually my lower gi was tortured instead. This feels pretty similar. Driving my car home a few minutes ago, I felt like I was going to have to pull over any second to hurl from the motion, but managed to get back here to the homestead without doing so. Question is, if I can force down say, some ginger tea, should I do that? Wait for the vomiting to commence or not? Hunt for pepto? Thanks hive mind. Ugh.
posted by bitterkitten to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If it is food poisoning (which is just a catch-all term for a lot of things) you'll pretty much have no choice but to ride it out, unless you get some antibiotics. If ginger tea\pepto\etc. make you feel better, there's no harm in that - you're not going to win a medal for "roughing it."
posted by sanko at 8:58 PM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

You might be in for a tough night, but do whatever you can to treat your symptoms. Pepto might settle your stomach, but it might also back you up a little, when what you really want is for the bad stuff to go through quickly. By no means should you use anything like Immodium, as that just keeps the bad stuff inside you. Hydrate. Yes, tea, but keep on the water, too. Sorry.
posted by Gilbert at 9:06 PM on September 9, 2010

Wouldn't it be better to throw up whatever's in your stomach as a first step?
posted by teedee2000 at 9:07 PM on September 9, 2010

If it's food poisoning, reducing the nausea may prolong it. Sometimes you just need to barf. Get ready to drink lots of water and periodically gatorade or something that will restore electrolytes. Get some plain crackers to test out once the throwing up / whatever else happens is over.
posted by SassHat at 9:13 PM on September 9, 2010

I wholly endorse and encourage a nice bout of self-enforced vomiting.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:24 PM on September 9, 2010

You really don't want to stop food poisoning. My go-to is Pedialyte popsicles - hard to consume too quickly, come with a tiny sidecar of electrolytes and sugar to hold you up until the worst is over, not completely horrible to puke if necessary. The cold also helps a little if you're especially retch-y or your throat has become sore. I only discovered them during my last two serious bouts of unexplained gastroenteritis, and they were kind of a lifesaver. I had trouble finding them at grocery stores, but box drugstores had them and generic versions.

Ginger isn't going to stop you up, so if it makes you more comfortable there's no reason not to have some, but it can be a little uncomfortable to pass in a hurry.

If you need to yark but can't...just use your imagination. You'll get there eventually.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:30 PM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's not just the contents of your stomach or gut. Reiter's syndrome, or reactive arthritis has a non-zero probability of occurring because of Salmonella food poisoning.
I'm speaking from experience and consequence.
posted by the Real Dan at 9:34 PM on September 9, 2010

Nope, no vomiting yet, but the dizziness is of migraine-ish size and the nausea is sort of hovering. While the yakking would likely? make me feel better, I have not heard it advised to use additional substances to induce vomiting in these situations. Can't seem to force it to happen....
posted by bitterkitten at 9:35 PM on September 9, 2010

Sticking your finger down your throat doesn't do it?
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:41 PM on September 9, 2010

Advice from a total vomit-ophobe:
Put a cold, folded washcloth across your forehead, and another one across the back of your neck.
If it's chilly outside where you are, go out and get a few breaths of fresh air. Stay as cool/cold as possible, and keep breathing deeply. This seems to help me. Once the worst is over, sloooowly sip some cold ginger ale.

Keep those washcloths cold and wet!

If the above fails, and, (oh, I so hope not) you feel the need to "induce,", just turn on Fox News.
posted by BostonTerrier at 10:13 PM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

Here's the thing, no one can give you a definitive answer because "food poisoning" is a catch-all term for dozens, perhaps hundreds of distinct illnesses. Some type of food poisoning are more like poisons in that you consume food that has a toxin in it that makes you sick. Other types are more like a cold in that you get infected with a bug, and a few days (or even weeks) later you get sick. I say treat your symptoms with whatever works for you (as long as you're doing things that don't harm your health further) and go see a doctor if it persists. Or if you can't keep yourself hydrated. Or if you see blood in your stool. That one's REALLY important if it happens with food poisoning symptoms.

/not a doctor, but this is a pet issue of mine
posted by TungstenChef at 10:43 PM on September 9, 2010

I recently had a mysterious, horrible stomach problem that I think might have been food related, and the best thing I did was to keep taking in fluids. Lots and lots of fluids. I couldn't tolerate solids, but the fluids were really helpful when I eventually did vomit, because there isn't much worse than having nothing on your stomach when it wants to empty itself. Also, seconding the cold washcloths and fresh, cool air.
posted by Half-a-Dozen Paper Cranes at 11:14 PM on September 9, 2010

Public Service Announcement: just a note, in case the OP or anyone on earth is ever tempted to down some ipecac to "help move things along" in a case of suspected food poisoning. DO NOT DO THIS EVER. If you stick your finger down your own throat, you can always remove it. If you, like I did, take ipecac, you will be violently hurling for 12 hours... through your nose, while walking down the hall, through bitter tears, while you're praying for it to just STOP. Even Poison Control does NOT endorse the use of ipecac EVER these days.

(And sticking your finger down your own throat doesn't work as well as kneeling in front of a slightly-dirty toilet with the lid up and breathing in slowly through an open mouth. Trust me, I've done a LOT of spewing in my day, kids.)
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:30 AM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

Seconding what julthumbscrew advises regarding kneeling in front of the toilet. I've done exactly the same thing when I've been nauseous and it worked like a charm.

Hope you feel better!
posted by BrianJ at 6:48 AM on September 10, 2010

With all due respect, the recommendations to induce vomiting are very bad advice.

First, you don't know that this is food poisoning. It could be the flu or another illness. In this case, vomiting won't do you much good. Even if it is food poisoning, you have already been exposed to the pathogen, so vomiting won't magically expel it from your system.

Second, vomiting is an extremely efficient way to dehydrate yourself, which you do not want to do. In fact, regardless of whether it is food poisoning or a virus, you should be doing exactly the opposite - drinking plenty of fluids in order to keep yourself well hydrated.
posted by googly at 7:07 AM on September 10, 2010

In case anyone's wondering... well, I didn't actually hurl, but I slept like hell and woke up today feeling like my head's been shook in a bag. Stomach doesn't hurt and I don't have the urge to purge anymore, but who knows what will happen later on the other end.

Thanks again for all your YANMD advisorying. By the time I could've called that free 24 hr 'nurse'line that I can call with my insurance, I probably would've been out cold anyway.
posted by bitterkitten at 7:29 AM on September 10, 2010

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