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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Food Poisoning: An Unwanted Holiday Gift

Food Poisoning: An Unwanted Holiday Gift

So, you thought you’d raid the refrigerator for leftovers, and now you’re suffering from a stomach rebellion – queasiness, abdominal pains, diarrhea, and maybe even vomiting.

Food poisoning is a common ailment that most of us can expect to endure at least once in our lives. If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know how awful it can be. Food poisoning occurs when you digest food or drink that has been contaminated with bacteria. Symptoms can show up anywhere between 12 and 72 hours after the contaminated food is eaten.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many treatments that can speed your recovery from food poisoning, but there are a few things you can do at home to help relieve the some of the symptoms. The most common, and important, treatment for a mild case of food poisoning is to simply stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clear liquids. Avoid high sugar drinks like soda and avoid caffeine. Eating a few slices of plain bread can also help. The bread will absorb some of the poison for quick relief. Try eating at least three or four bananas a day until you’re feeling like yourself again. Bananas are rich in potassium, which can help your system recover from the effects of food poisoning faster.

Most cases of food poisoning in otherwise healthy people resolve themselves in within 24 hours, with or without treatment. People, who contract more severe strains of bacteria, or those with compromised immune systems, may be at greater risk. You should always see your doctor if you suffer from preexisting illnesses, notice other symptoms, such as a high fever, or pain in the joints or other areas, or if your abdominal discomfort does not steadily improve over the course of a few days.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.