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Food poisoning or acute gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and small intestine. There are many ways to get food poisoning, the most common one is eating food that has been contaminated with bacteria.

People who handle food can have bacteria on their hands and the bacteria can pass from there to the food. It takes up to two or three hours after eating contaminated food for the symptoms of poisoning to set in.

The most common bacterial agent that causes food poisoning is Staphylococcus. Foods that are more likely to be a source of bacterial infection are meat, fish, pastes, creams, milk, deserts, custards, eggs.

The symptoms of food poisoning include nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea and general weakness. There may be a burning feeling in the rectal area and the stool may contain some blood. A person suffering from food poisoning is likely to lose a lot of fluids so there is a risk of dehydration.

Most food poisoning symptoms last for a few hours and after that time the recovery is usually complete.

A person who has food poisoning should stay in bed until the symptoms subside. Eating or drinking is made difficult and the food is difficult to keep down. It is better to wait until vomiting stops and then have small amounts of food and small sips of liquid.

The stomach area can be gently heated in order to relieve cramps and to prevent vomiting.

One of the best home remedies for food poisoning is made from one tablespoon of poppy seeds, one teaspoon of edible gum, 1 teaspoon of cardamom, half a teaspoon of nutmeg powder and two tablespoons of sugar, all blended together and ground into a powder. This mixture should be taken every two hours until the symptoms go away.

Herbal infusions or tisanes made from peppermint, raspberry, chamomile or blackberry are very soothing for the stomach.

There is also a very effective and simple remedy made with a little lemon juice, pepper and ginger powder mixed in a glass of warm water.

A drink made of one raw papaya grated, mixed with three cups of water and then strained should be taken during the day to help with the symptoms of food poisoning.

In order to prevent food poisoning, meat should never be left to drip on other foods. All foods should be kept in the refrigerator. The surface used for preparing the food in the kitchen must be sterilized with warm water and bleach. Hands must be washed frequently during the food preparation and especially after handling raw meat. It is better to use plastic cutting boards instead of wooden ones, since they are more likely to be cleaned thoroughly.

Meat, fish and eggs should not be eaten raw. Meals made with fish or meat should not be tested before they are thoroughly cooked. A cracked egg should be thrown away because it may be contaminated with salmonella.

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