It is not a good feeling having to use the bathroom every 30 minutes or less and your stomach making unpleasant churns and noises for God knows how long. This is the reality of food poisoning.

It was one lazy evening I decided to gift my body with one of my best dishes. A cheese dish. My love for cheese is on another random level; I will have no problem chewing to the firm fluffy but salty flakes of the cheese. So that day I settled for regular french fries and chicken wraps sprinkled with cheese served with a vegetable salad on the side. (Don’t judge me; it is far from a healthy dish of course but I often have those times.)  I opted to choose the drink later which I ended up abandoning all together because of the satiety after the sumptuous meal. The wraps tasted like a homespun masterpiece. A wild array of textures coupled with the mind boggling collection of assorted flavors, the shattering airy crunch of the cheese sitting in the middle of the wrap sent my taste buds screaming for more. The crisp toasty brown fries sprinkled with the mint green parsley together with the unending conversations from an old friend made my evening more than what I had asked for. At that moment in time, my whole self was very thankful and could not even notice the time pass by. We even had time to have a late evening walk in the airy wind before we could both go our separate ways.

Shortly after I had reached home and taken a relaxing bath, I lay on the bed and my body decided to gang up on me. The only relaxing position to lie was down on my tummy. There was an enraged monster very active in my belly giving hard to take kicks, jumping up in all directions with no even timing and screaming to death once in a while. The pain was gruesome and as if that was not enough it made me a frequent bathroom resident for the night. Gosh!! it was very exhausting. Lucky by morning with the help of some medication it had quieted down and life was slowly coming back to normal. My physician said it was food poisoning and I didn’t know where to place the blame. Could it have been the glorious meal that had crowned the day or my earlier bites in the day. I couldn’t place a finger to any that moment in time.

So!! Food poisoning is a result of eating contaminated, spoiled or toxic food and usually manifests through nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms can appear between an hour (explains when mine appeared) to 28 days. And did I mention it can be life threatening as well? Oh yes!!! You can lose life to it especially when breathing is impaired. Anyone and everyone is at risk of coming down with food poisoning at least once in their lifetime. Believe you me, it could be your mother or your child or your bar man. Literally anyone; however some populations are at more risk than others.

If you are pregnant, you may need to be very keen as your body is coping with changes to your metabolism and circulatory system so you can fall prey in a blink of an eye. The elderly too owing to a declined immune system, the body may not quickly respond to infectious “monsters’ as well as children whose immune system is not as developed as that of the adults.

Under attack of food poisoning? Make drinks your best buddy. The body has lost or is losing bouts of water which need to be replaced the shortest of times. So fruit juice is perfect for this time as it restores lost water, replaces lost minerals and vitamins but most importantly deals with the fatigue. Running back and forth from the bathroom is itself very exhausting. Do not ignore plain water by the way. It is vital. You have to take leave from any kind of caffeine. Caffeine irritates the digestive tract and am sure you don’t want that. Decaffeinated teas with soothing herbs like peppermint, the famous ‘mujaaja’ will be your heaven at this moment in time as these calm an upset stomach.

It took me over 8 hours before I could dare eat food. No, it is not that I wasn’t hungry or the food wasn’t available, I just didn’t want to annoy the ‘monster’ again. Was not about to put up with another round. It was knock out time for me.

Nutritionists advise that it is best to gradually hold off on sold foods until vomiting and diarrhea have passed as you drink as much as you possibly can. Then ease back to your regular diet by eating simple to digest foods that are bland (boiled, or food with none or minimum oil and spices) like bananas, rice, bland potatoes, boiled or steamed vegetables, chicken or meat soup, diluted fruit juices, oat meal to mention but a few. Stay away from dairy products apart from low fat yogurt, highly spiced or seasoned food, fried food and food with too much sugar.

Lastly do your best not to fall in the trap cause food poisoning drains life from humanity. Practice safety precautions while handling food and eat from trusted places. And in case Mr. luck doesn’t smile to you that day, visit your physician and or do the above and spring back to life in no time.

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