How Can I Speed up Food Poisoning Recovery?

Christina Edwards

While most bouts of food poisoning can be treated at home, severe foodborne illness may require the attention of a medical professional. One of the easiest ways to speed up food poisoning recovery is by resting. Suppressing vomiting or diarrhea with over-the-counter medication is not usually recommended, since these food poisoning symptoms often help expel microorganisms from the body. Staying hydrated by drinking water or herbal tea is also recommended, and meals should be light and bland.

Plain water can help speed up recovery from food poisoning.
Plain water can help speed up recovery from food poisoning.

Food poisoning can be extremely uncomfortable, but sufferers can usually ride out the symptoms at home. Some common symptoms of food poisoning may include nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Patients experiencing severe symptoms, however, should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Doctors are typically able to help people experiencing mild to moderate food poisoning symptoms as well.

Drinking herbal tea may help a person with food poisoning stay hydrated.
Drinking herbal tea may help a person with food poisoning stay hydrated.

Rest is extremely important during food poisoning recovery. Allowing the body to rest helps it to fight off the illness more quickly. People suffering from food poisoning should not strain themselves. They should not go to work or to school, for instance. Ideally, they should stay in bed.

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A Salmonella bacterium, a common cause of food poisoning.
A Salmonella bacterium, a common cause of food poisoning.

Vomiting and diarrhea are some of the most common symptoms of food poisoning. While these symptoms can be very uncomfortable for most people, stomach medications designed to stop these symptoms are usually not recommended. These actions are the body's methods of getting rid of the harmful microorganisms causing the illness. Suppressing these symptoms during recovery from food poisoning allows this harmful microorganisms to stay in the body, possibly causing a longer recovery period.

Allowing yourself to vomit may help speed up food poisoning recovery.
Allowing yourself to vomit may help speed up food poisoning recovery.

Dehydration can also occur during food poisoning recovery, since the body expels a large amount of water through vomit and diarrhea. Some signs of dehydration may include dark urine, dry mouth, dizziness, and fatigue. To prevent these symptoms, it is important to stay hydrated. Water is the best fluid to drink to help combat dehydration.

While caffeinated beverages should be avoided, herbal teas can help food poisoning recovery. Not only will these help prevent dehydration, but they can also help calm an upset stomach and promote proper digestion. Ginger tea and mint tea are two types of teas that can benefit a food poisoning sufferer.

After the initial symptoms subside slightly, a food poisoning sufferer may begin to feel like eating again. Complex foods and meals are typically not recommended at this time, however, since the digestive system is still weak and sensitive. Simple foods, such as dry toast and plain rice, are usually recommended. Sugars, on the other hand, should be avoided during food poisoning recovery, since they can exacerbate symptoms.

Ginger tea can help to settle an upset stomach.
Ginger tea can help to settle an upset stomach.

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Discussion Comments


@umbra21 - You should take precautions of course, but don't let it get in the way of living life. One of my favorite things to do while traveling is eat street food (which is often cooked in hot oil and so relatively safe) and I know people who won't eat it because they're afraid of food poisoning.

I feel like I've just conditioned my stomach to be fairly happy no matter what. Yes, sometimes I get sick, but it only lasts a day or two. I'm not advocating being an idiot about food, but don't live your life in fear either.


@bythewell - The problem with that approach is that you might not be doing any good. Often you won't start to feel sick until it's already too late and you're going to be vomiting no matter what you do. So trying to get it over with might just be adding to your misery.

While you shouldn't try to suppress the symptoms of food poisoning, you shouldn't try to exacerbate them either. Excessive vomiting can cause stomach irritation and dehydration so the less of it you can get away with the better. Personally, my best solution for food poisoning is to avoid it in the first place.

Even in the most far flung places you can make sure you don't get it by only eating food that's been thoroughly cooked and is still hot, and by washing your hands regularly, particular before eating.


I know this might not be standard advice for people who are suffering from food poisoning, but I'll tell you what kind of worked for me.

I have had food poisoning twice, and the first time I was very ill for several days. It was really awful.

So, the second time it happened, I recognized the quick onset of the symptoms and decided to take drastic measures. I made myself go to the toilet and vomit up what I had eaten. I have never deliberately vomited before and I would never do it except under these circumstances (which haven't happened again, thank goodness). But, I'm very glad I did do it that time, as, even with that precaution, I was still fairly ill for a day.

As I see it, you're going to end up expelling that food anyway. If you know what the symptoms are and you can tell they are about to happen, help your body out by preempting it.

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