Food poisoning in summer

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Few days ago, I went to Baguio with a dear friend for a wellness meeting, about a possible branching-out, of my holistic health center, Orissa Holistic Garden, in the city of pines. 

The weather was disappointingly warm when we arrived, not much of a difference in temperature from what we have in Pampanga or Manila. It was lunch time. Tired and famish, we headed straight to one of my favorite places to eat. We chose a spot, with a view of some of the splendid mountain ranges of Cordillera region, populated by monumental pine trees and other equally majestic trees – a truly  grandiose feast for the sight. While admiring the vista, the friendly waiter showed up, to take our order. My friend ordered their popular camote bread with herbed cheese and tortang talong, while I requested for a tofu steak and fresh lumpia. We paired our meal, with their popular lemongrass tea, blended with lime and honey.  After savoring my meal with delight, I noticed my companion, hardly touched his talong meal, which was his favorite dish from this place. He complained that something is not right about the taste. I took a bite and immediately I felt a sting in my tongue, as if a bug has bitten it.

On our way to the hotel, where we were billeted, an excruciating pain started developing in his stomach, cold sweat followed and dizziness. He was food poisoned. 

Travelling with a small bag of natural remedies, anywhere I go, absolutely helps a lot.  I immediately gave him some probiotics and a cup of chamomile tea, to calm his tummy and him. The poor guy stayed in his room for four straight days – the whole time we were there, because of the need to be close to the restroom.  

Feeling the importance of food poisoning awareness, especially with our present weather condition, I interviewed doctor Jocelyn Cordero, an internal medicine specialist, about the subject. She is one of our amazing medical doctor adviser in Orissa and one of my soul sisters. 

Doctor Jocelyn Cordero

According to her, during the peak of summer months, the chances of getting food poisoning are higher. The fiery temperature promotes the growth and fast multiplication of harmful organisms, spoils food quicker, escalates the odds of contamination

She said that foods that contain mayonnaise, fried foods, especially noodles like pansit bihon, can get spoiled for a short period of time, even if you refrigerate it. She suggested that if you cook this dish, you must consume it within three hours to avoid complications. Moreover, keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood chilled until you are ready to cook it. She stated, all food stored in the refrigerator for three days, should be thrown away. They will do more harm than good to the body. Also, the impression of reheating food to rid of parasites – is untrue, for not all parasites are the same, some cannot be destroyed by heat.   

With a very concerned look, she shared the cases of food poisoning of her patients, which most of them unfortunately got from drinking contaminated water, from the restaurants. She urges us  to be careful when dining out and wary of our drinks. That opting for a bottled water with a known brand is better. Furthermore, for safety purpose, inquire about the source of the ice that will be used in your drink beforehand, to make sure it didn’t come from unfiltered water.

She narrated that the treatment for food poisoning depends on the symptoms. For mild cases, the first step is the replacement of lost fluids, electrolytes and minerals, such as sodium, potassium and calcium. Drinks like pokari sweet and gatorade are good option, but for diabetics, opt for hydrite instead. Second, take probiotics, to enhance the good bacteria inside the stomach. If it involves vomiting, you may need hospitalization, to receive salts and replenish fluids intravenously, to prevent or treat dehydration. Third, do not eat until the stomach settled down, just keep on hydrating. Fourth, do not take medicines like diatabs or Imodium, for it  hinders the body’s natural way of ridding off, the ingested toxins that makes you sick. Fifth, rest – until everything runs smoothly as before. Lastly, when the tum starts feeling better, consume only easily digestible food like vegetable broth, plain congee, apple, ripe bananas, plain yogurt, in small proportion.

Most importantly, doc Joy articulated, that antibiotics may only be taken, if symptoms are severe. Meaning to say, if you are experiencing persisting diarrhea – for more than three days, extreme high fever, difficulty speaking, blurry vision, weakness, acute dehydration, passing small amount of urine or none at all, blood or mucus presence in the stool. For pregnant women, antibiotics could be used to prevent the effect of the infection to the baby. For best options, consult your health care provider. 

Keep your gut healthy and strong. Eat with mindfulness.  

Namaste.