It’s not uncommon to get an upset stomach and a little bit of nausea after eating certain foods, especially fatty or spicy foods. What isn’t common is becoming so nauseous that you can’t keep anything down, without any other specific symptoms (such as those that go along with a stomach flu) due to something you ate. In some cases, you may have actually contracted a food borne illness, also known as food poisoning.
It’s not always easy to tell if you have nausea caused by food poisoning. The nausea you experience can set in anywhere from a few hours to two days after you eat the offending food, though it usually happens within the first day.
There are three important principles to keep in mind when you have food poisoning-related nausea:
- Try to get control of it. If you’re having uncontrolled vomiting, the first thing you’ll want to do is get it under control. Avoid solid foods until you’re not vomiting at all, and then stick to bland foods like bananas, rice, bread or saltines. Sipping soda might help, and you’ll definitely want to avoid foods that are sweet, greasy or spicy.
- Watch out for dehydration. One of the biggest dangers of continual vomiting is dehydration. Try to drink clear liquids. Begin with small sips, and then as you’re able to tolerate it drink more. If you are vomiting for more than 24 hours, you might consider an oral rehydration drink, available at your local drug store.
- Know when to call a doctor. If your nausea is indeed caused by food poisoning, you’re probably going to experience diarrhea as well. Call the doctor if it lasts more than a total of three days, or if the vomiting comes as a result of eating mushrooms or seafood. If you can’t keep any liquids down for more than a day, you’ll also want to call the doctor. The same is true if your symptoms are also accompanied by a fever.
Nausea caused by food poisoning generally passes within a day, unless you’ve contracted a severe foodborne illness. If that’s the case, you’ll need to see a doctor for treatment right away.