How to Treat and Prevent Food Poisoning

Food poisoning can be a really scary thing. If you have never had it, it’s hard to explain exactly how sick it can make you, but if you have had it, you would probably agree it might be the worst you have ever felt. Food poisoning is no picnic (pun intended) in the best circumstances, when you have a clean bathroom, running water, a hospital or doctor nearby, and plenty of water to flush out your system. However, if you are in a SHTF scenario, food poisoning can be even worse, because it could hit you, and you would not know what it was, or be prepared to treat it.

You should know that food poisoning can mimic a plain old stomach bug, but the symptoms can go from bad to worse in a hurry. There are three main kinds of food borne illnesses to be aware of: salmonella, E-Coli, and botulism. All of these can cause serious health issues and even death, so it is important to know the symptoms of each of them, and how to distinguish food poisoning from just a typical gastro upset.


Salmonella is most commonly caused by eating undercooked or raw foods like eggs or meat. You know how your mom always warned you not to eat raw cookie dough? This is why. Most people do eat cookie dough and they are fine, but salmonella is a risk. If you do contract salmonella, you could start to feel bad within in a couple of hours after eating contaminated food, and sometimes it could take a day or two. Common symptoms are nausea and vomiting, loose stools (sometimes bloody), flu like symptoms, and stomach cramps.

To treat salmonella, stay well hydrated and use anti-diarrhea medicine. In extreme cases, you might need antibiotics. Most people feel better in a week, although it could take several weeks to get your stomach back to 100 percent. The best way to prevent salmonella is to clean your kitchen, utensils, and cookware really well, and to use a separate cutting board for meats than you use for other foods. You can get salmonella from produce as well; so wash those fruits and veggies thoroughly. Cooking your food until it is done will also kill the bacteria.


E-Coli is another serious food-borne illness that thousands contract every year. It mainly comes from eating contaminated foods, such as unpasteurized milk (and cheese made from it), juice, and meat. It can also be passed from contact with animals that carry it, as well as in water. Symptoms of E-coli would be severe bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. It can last as little as 5-10 days, and in some cases, will cause a secondary infection that can damage and affect the kidneys. You know you have this rare condition if your urine output goes down, and your urine is really dark. To treat it, rest a lot, and drink lots and lots of water. E-coli doesn’t get treated with antibiotics. It really has to run its course. If you have E-coli, take extreme care to clean all surfaces well and wash your hands often.


Botulism is probably the worst of the worst when it comes to food poisoning. It is rare, but very dangerous. It is caused by a tiny neurotoxin that will wreak havoc on your nervous system. The culprits are often foods that were not canned correctly (this could be canned items from a store that are damaged/dented, or food that you have canned at home.) A lot of preppers will can their extra fruits and vegetables, so it is crucial that you are doing it correctly to help prevent this.

Symptoms of botulism would include things related to the nervous system like paralysis in the face and eyelids, having a hard time speaking, blurry vision, and weakness. You may also have vomiting and trouble breathing. To treat botulism, you need to take something that will actually bring on diarrhea or throwing up, to help get the toxin out of your system. Antibiotics won’t treat it, but hospitals will have an anti-toxin that can drastically help. To avoid botulism, use extreme care when eating canned foods, and if you can them yourself, don’t skip steps and make sure to do it the right way.

As you have read, the key to preventing most cases of food poisoning is to prepare food correctly, don’t eat raw or undercooked meats or dairy, and keep your cooking utensils and cookware, as well as your cooking area, clean and disinfected. You also want to practice good hygiene, like washing hands with soap and hot water before and after handling food, and after going to the bathroom. You also want to make sure to have plenty of water on hand, as staying hydrated is imperative for someone battling food poisoning.

Have you ever had food poisoning before? How did you treat it?

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About Ms. Prepper

I’m Laura P, aka, Passion Prepper, aka, Storage Prepper! I’ve been homesteading nearly all my life and prepping for the last 6 years. I strongly believe our great country of America was built on self-sufficient families like mine and yours. Politics bores me, learning new stuff, getting outside and living life thrills me.

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