Help me get over food poisoning
January 4, 2006 3:44 PM   Subscribe

Help me get over food poisoning.

I had the worst food poisoning ever on a red-eye flight from NY and ended up throwing up about ten times at 2-6 in the morning, depending on how you're counting. (In case it helps, I had a glass of red wine about an hour before my flight, then some chamomile tea and two melatonin pills to go to sleep; earlier that evening I had a bunch of Chinese food, which my family shared--I haven't checked to see if they're sick.) Anyways, I took the day off yesterday and this morning I felt better. I'm at work right now but I feel pretty awful--weak, nauseous, vaguely headachey. I haven't been eating very much and have been drinking gatorade, but I don't like having to feel non-functional and useless. Is there anything I can do to speed this up?
posted by kensanway to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This may be food poisoning, it may be stomach flu. We had something similar at my office a few weeks ago. In any case, go home and sleep, you need to let what ever it is run it's course.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:55 PM on January 4, 2006

Yep, food poisoning generally has to simply run its (awful, awful) course. For food, you want small portions of mild stuff -- applesauce, toast, maybe a little broth and/or plain white rice. For liquid besides gatorade, try a little ginger ale or 7-UP, or possibly some hot tea (no milk!). Make sure you take small sips rather than trying to drink a lot all at once.
posted by scody at 3:58 PM on January 4, 2006

Yes, whether it is food poisoning or a virus of some sort (though very unlikely to be influenza) the best thing you can do is to get lots of rest and make sure to keep hydrated. Gatorade is good but make sure to drink water as well, or mix 50/50 water and gatorade.

Try to keep down some toast or something.
posted by Justinian at 3:59 PM on January 4, 2006

I don't want to be a downer, and I'm not a doctor, but you probably need to visit an emergency room. Food poisoning can be very serious and potentially deadly. You don't say what was in the Chinese food, but particularly if we're dealing with pork or shellfish of any type, food poisoning from these foods can be very deadly. If you've thrown up that much and are still feeling very bad that could be a sign that something is wrong. Please visit a physician.
posted by katyggls at 3:59 PM on January 4, 2006

The best thing (in my experience) for food poisoning is sleep. You're probably exhausted from being ill anyway, so when you get home, drink some 50/50 gatorade and water, maybe have some broth and toast if you can handle it, and then just pass out. Fall asleep where you're comfortable -- if that means partially sitting up (the only way I can sleep when feeling sick to my stomach at all) then that's fine.

Typically with food poisoning you will be deathly ill for some short, horrifying period and then you'll feel like hell for about another day or two. The whole experience exhausts your body. If you still feel badly off by day three, for sure see a doctor. But, you know your body, so if it's saying, "See a doctor!" then, well, go.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:06 PM on January 4, 2006

Okay, I checked with my family and they're not sick, so I doubt it's the chinese food. My guess is that it had something to do with the wine and melatonin. The initial part of the sickness had a very hangovery feel to it.

Also, I don't know if this helps, but my mom mentioned that we had visiting family that was sick--my cousin, her husband, and their three children all had what they thought to be stomach flu (and therefore not contagious, right?).

Thanks for the advice.
posted by kensanway at 4:08 PM on January 4, 2006

There is no such thing as "stomach flu" but there are definitely contagious gastrointestinal illnesses, and you could have picked one up.
posted by zadcat at 4:13 PM on January 4, 2006

Stomache bugs can be contagious - see the Norwalk outbreak of two winters ago, as an example.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:15 PM on January 4, 2006

Anyways, I took the day off yesterday and this morning I felt better

You're probably already over it, and the general feel-crappiness is the last business to take care of. Drink, drink, drink, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

I'm at work right now but I feel pretty awful--weak, nauseous, vaguely headachey

Oh for Pete's sake, go home.
posted by frogan at 4:33 PM on January 4, 2006

Melatonin related story: A few months ago, I took a melatonin pill to get to sleep after having a few drinks. After about an hour, I started feeling dizzy and nauseous, to the point where I went to the bathroom and hovered over the toilet, just in case. Nothing happened, but when when I stood up, I apparently passed out. Came to a few minutes (?) later, and felt cramped, achy and nauseous the entire next day.

I've never taken melatonin again so I'm not sure if the one has to do with the other, but google suggests there may be some interaction between that and alcohol...
posted by logicpunk at 4:33 PM on January 4, 2006

For futher melatonin thread derailment, I've always found that if I don't drink lots of water (2-3 glasses) when I take the pill, I wake up around 3:00 AM with a raging thirst. Adding alcohol to the mix would probably make it worse.
posted by nmiell at 4:55 PM on January 4, 2006

Drink way more water than you want to.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:01 PM on January 4, 2006

Do you chaps have Dioralyte over there? Get some of that down you. Splendid at replacing all the salts your body needs.
posted by blag at 5:08 PM on January 4, 2006

ginger tea is great for any type of stomach or digestive problem
posted by any major dude at 5:43 PM on January 4, 2006

I had the same thing about two weeks ago after a wonderful duck dinner. Five minutes after getting home from the restaurant threw it all up. I ate with two other people and was the only one who got sick, so Iassumed it was a stomach bug.

The reason you still feel like ass is because you haven't had any real food for the past few days and your body is still weak. The best thing to do it lay on the couch motionless, watching reality TV reruns and drinking as much fluid as possible. Avoid dairy, as it can upset your stomach. If you get sick of water, juice is great, the sugar will help give you a bit more energy, and pedialyte (sp?) which they give to babies with the runs will help replenish your nutrients.

Most importantly, do not take any anti-poop pills. If you do have a bug, puking and pooping are your body's mechanisms for getting rid of it.
posted by Brittanie at 6:09 PM on January 4, 2006

This won't help you get rid of your food poisoning/stomach virus, but it might make you feel better in the short term. When I had a terrible bout of food poisoning a couple of years ago (bad tofu), the only thing I could keep down was Rice Dream. Honestly, I think I subsisted on Rice Dream for nearly a week because I couldn't even keep water down. I don't know why it worked (some magic enzyme that neutralizes stomach acid?), but it definitely made it easier to be alive when all I wanted to do was curl up and die.

(P.S. I highly recommend it for hangovers too.)
posted by zharptitsa at 6:28 PM on January 4, 2006

Have you found out whether or not the rest of your family was sick? Often, cases of food poisoning are often mistaken as bouts of stomach flu. Generally, if food is poisoned in large quantities, it stands to reason that a LOT of people will be impacted, not just one.
posted by cajo at 6:47 PM on January 4, 2006

Sports drinks are so sugary that they can often defeat the purpose of the sodium and electrolytes. Get some Pedialyte (they make popsicles, as well, if you're still at the "go slow" stage) and/or Smart Water. Avoid dairy, particularly if you're having any lower intestinal symptoms.

A small amount of fat would be good if you can handle it. Avocado would be ideal, or egg if you can deal with it. As mentioned above, do not take immodium, pepto, an anti-emetic, or anything else that is meant to slow one's stomach/bowels; virus or bacteria will multiply drastically if you cannot rid yourself of whatever your body wants to eliminate. The headache is mostly from dehydration; taking something for pain will probably hurt and upset your stomach at this point. Try a little plain baked potato. Your muscle pain will ease some if you can get a little potassium on board.

Chicken or vegetable broth with miso would be a good starter meal once something plain and white like potato or rice will stay down.

Aside from that, pajamas and junk television viewed from a reclining position is the best medicine. Apply comfy blanket and warm showers as needed. Take another day off and rest.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:09 PM on January 4, 2006

Opium and it's derivatives are your friend. If you live somewhere civilized you should be able to get codeine enhanced cough syrup.
posted by delmoi at 8:59 PM on January 4, 2006

'nauseous' means you make other people feel like throwing up.
'nauseated' means you feel like throwing up.

The ineluctable march of language

posted by logicpunk at 11:30 PM on January 4, 2006

Yes, of course, the old standby "everyone these days does it wrong, so wrong is right".
posted by Rhomboid at 11:46 PM on January 4, 2006

Yeah, well, I also find people who are nauseated to be nauseous as well.
posted by logicpunk at 12:30 AM on January 5, 2006

Man, I feel you. I'd visit a doctor just to make sure everything's ok. And see if you can get another day or two off work. Stay on a mainly liquid diet (broth helps), and sleep more than you want to.

I had the worst case of food poisoning/stomach flu at age 20. I couldn't keep anything, even water, down for five long hellish days. Imagine vomiting 10-15 times a day for 5 days. I went in to see a doctor who did a cursory exam and decided I had the stomach flu, and sent me home. I think I lost 30 pounds that week.

Hope you feel better soon.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:24 AM on January 5, 2006

Thanks everyone for your useful and friendly advice!
posted by kensanway at 7:47 AM on January 5, 2006

If I'm not too late: this was me a few weeks ago. Stay hydrated at all times; suck on ice cubes, which help nausea and keep your mouth moist. Work your way gradually into food: saltines, cola with low carbonation (use ice cubes), plain foods like pasta for several days. You'll be a little carb-heavy but the base will help your stomach. And don't push your appetite--have as many bites as feels good, then stop. Don't be surprised if half a dozen saltines is a meal for a day or two.
posted by werty at 9:17 AM on January 5, 2006

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