Tummy bugs can wreak havoc on your gut’s delicate ecosystem, which has more healthy bacteria of many differing strains than all the other cells in the body put together.
A healthy ecosystem within your digestive tract ensures the breakdown of food for nourishment, cell repair and a powerful immune system. When your ecosystem is damaged from the unhealthy foods and drinks or bugs you may experience all kinds of health issues, from asthma to arthritis.
This could give us a reason to reflect on our food choices such as; pre-packaged versus bagging vegetables ourselves, washing before eating, and buying smaller amounts to be consumed quickly. Farmers markets and vegetable shops offer great food where quality is evident and tired food will not sell. Also, and this not anything new, washing your hands before preparing and eating food is protective!
If you have any infection from any foul food or water here are some natural health options to get your gut back to a healthy state.
- If you are vomiting in addition to having diarrhoea, be sure to take frequent, small sips of liquid instead of drinking lots of liquid at a time.
- To combat dehydration and replace electrolytes (minerals) include chicken or beef broth, rice water, naturally flavoured (squeeze of orange juice or sprig of mint) in waters, or prepared rehydration solutions containing salt and potassium. Our favourite is a brand called Pure.
- Natural probiotic yogurts during the first 24 hours of diarrhoea, when it is at its most active stage may be useful a teaspoon at a time.
Caution: If a baby, child or elderly person’s alertness is affected after diarrhoea it is very important you get them to a doctor.
Arsenicum, Colocynths and Podophyllum have been used for over 100 years as great first aid remedies for food poisoning. In homeopathic practice, the symptoms that are unique to the person guide us to the correct homeopathic remedy. Of the many, here are the first choices and as you will see there is quite a variation in the expression of the gastric infection.
- Arsenicum: Food poisoning, gastric flu, with vomiting and or diarrhoea. Usual onset is in the middle of the night, (but not necessarily) with acute restlessness, and anxiety. Thirst is for one sip at a time. The diarrhoea or vomiting may produce burning there may be a sense of weakness and chilliness with a desire for hotty.
- Colocynthis: Dysentery like diarrhoea with the most painful cramping colic with relief being sort by bending double or pressing something hard against the abdomen. Symptoms are aggravated after least food or drink. Not surprisingly, the mood may not be congenial.
- Podophyllum: Diarrhoea over a weeks or months. Copious painless diarrhoea, with gushing explosive and offensive stools and a sense of weakness or sinking during the early morning. Thirst for large quantities of cold water. Vomiting or gagging. Podophyllum is useful further along
Activated Charcoal tablets are naturally absorbent materials made from coal and wood that drugs and toxins will bind to. This helps rid the body of unwanted substances in our bowel motions. Do not combine activated charcoal with drugs used for constipation as this may cause electrolyte imbalances and may reduce or prevent the absorption of certain drugs. Charcoal should be taken for a short time only.
Probiotics – for children Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus reuteri and Saccharomyces boulardii appear to be the most effective. Travellers’ Diarrhoea is caused by contaminated food or water. The strongest medical research points to benefits from S. boulardii, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacteria bifidum. After Antibiotics, Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus GG seem to be the most effective.
Clay – sounds awful, however the minerals within the clay attract the toxic metals and unwanted parasites that we consume and are excreted in our stools. Clay water is also full of minerals, so when well diluted and sipped can be a useful alkaliser.
Herbal Medicine – Oregano, Trigonella, Juniper, Archimellia Vulgaris for acute infection and then as a post infection tonic to boost the immune system and repair inflammation in the digestive tract. These can be put together from an herbal dispensary.
As infections of this nature can have long lasting effects on our health, it is a good idea to treat the symptoms pro-actively. After initial medical treatment, the herbs and supplements can reduce inflammation, provide a gentle anti-bacterial support while replacing the digestive flora with the probiotics. Homeopathic remedies can treat the remaining symptoms in most cases but professional assistance will be advised.
Caution: – None of the advice above should be used exclusively as medical treatment. If you are worried – get professional advice.
News reports from a couple of years ago of a painful food poisoning resulting in hospitalisation and was caused by a bug called yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Interestingly those affected had multiple exposures to pre-bagged lettuce and carrots.
If you’ve been infected with yersinia pseudotuberculosis, it usually takes 5-10 days for the symptoms to develop (but sometimes up to 21 days).
Animals and humans can both get yersinia pseudotuberculosis. It can be spread by contact with;
- Infected faeces
- Contaminated food (including raw grated carrots, lettuce and contaminated chocolate milk).
- Contaminated water, soil or infected animal flesh.
The disease can still be present in faeces weeks after the symptoms have gone.
The symptoms of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis include:
- Abdominal pain (often on the lower right), which may mimic appendicitis, fever and sometimes diarrhoea.
- 1-3 weeks later, you may get a rash and joint pain. The joint pain can last up to 6 months.
- In rare cases infection can lead to infection in the blood that is commonly in people with weakened immune systems.