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Best ways to treat suspected food poisoning

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Best ways to treat suspected food poisoning

November 28, 2012

Q: What is the best way to treat suspected food poisoning? I've had chills but no fever or much abdominal pain, just diarrhea and vomiting. I've tried Pepto Bismol to little effect and am trying to stay hydrated.

A: The term "food poisoning" really isn't a medical term, but it would more be related to an infectious diarrhea or perhaps something like botulism toxicity. Most times what you might have is a stomach virus or a bout of gastroenteritis, both of which are usually self-limited and resolve in a day or two.

The most important aspect here is avoiding dehydration from the bazooka effect. The BRAT diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast along with plenty of fluids is standard treatment.

If the diarrhea lasts more than three days or there's a fever, then a stool culture needs to be done to see if there is something like an E. coli or salmonella infection. The Pepto is fine, but you shouldn't try anything like Immodium to try to slow the diarrhea for now.

-- Answer from Dr. Chip, a physician on JustAnswer.

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