Flu or food poisoning? How do we tell?

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I made those sloppy joes last night, with the baked macaroni and cheese. It was kindof late by the time SO got home from errands and visiting some relatives, so I assumed my position on the couch and fell asleep before I ate dinner. HE ate, though, and this morning early he was rustling around in the bed. I asked, "What's wrong?" He said, "I dunno. Heart-burn or something."

So, having nothing important today to address,he's been laying around the frontroom sleeping and watching football on TV. I guess this was AFTER a bout of diarrhea. I asked if he'd like me to cook him some rice to settle his stomach, but he said, "I don't want to eat ANYTHING. Maybe it was all that eggnog I had." [Heh. He finished the batch.]

I'm thinking that he spent a lot of time with his grandson [who was the one who started barfing within half an hour of his visit yesterday] putting together a lego-like station for the match-car that his mom had bought him. I'm thinking that he could have the flu that's going around. Gee. I just gave him a big hug. I hope I don't catch this.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 25, 2001


Geeze Anita, at your age shouldn't you be getting yearly flu shots?

Innocent blank look

I did. (Running for cover and ducking)*grin*

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), November 25, 2001.

Cherri: SO and I both had the same experience from the flu shots. The ONE year we got one, we got the worst flu ever. We've both vowed [independently] to never get one again. Lucky doesn't get them either, and she hasn't had the flu in maybe 25 years.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 25, 2001.

Diagnosis is easy. Based on your description of your cooking; if they ate your food it is food poisoning. ;o))

You know that this a joke. That kind of viral infection is going around. No reason it shouldn't be in Grand P.

Best Wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), November 25, 2001.

Sounds like anthrax.

-- (roland@hatemail.com), November 25, 2001.

Anita, from what I've seen, if it's food poisoning, there wouldn't be just ONE bout of diarrhea. He would be extremely ill.

-- Pammy (pamela_sue57@hotmail.com), November 25, 2001.

Agree with Pammy

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), November 25, 2001.

Real food poisoning causes hourly drive-heave barfing for 12-24 hours. If you've got it, you know it.

-- (lars@indy.net), November 26, 2001.


-- (lars@indy.net), November 26, 2001.

Did you ever see a slow motion film of someone sneezing???...Those tiny droplets spray and become airborn. The same holds true for vomiting...gross, but true. And if your happen to breathe any in...well, like roland said..LOL ;)

Sounds like a viral thingy to moi.

-- Peg (pegmc@mediaone.net), November 26, 2001.

One of the kids started barfing the night before the big dinner, so it wasn't my fault. Other kids started barfing about 36 hours after the big dinner, so it's prolly a virus. I had to make multiple trips to the school to pick up other kids as they started barfing today. Last trip in, I asked if anyone else wanted to go home with me and the office ladies said they did.

The living room is overflowing (no pun intended) with barfing rug rats. My husband called about an hour ago and asked if I were feeling ok. I assured him that I was fine. Then about ten minutes ago my tummy started hurting. And I don't feel so good. And it's too late to be food poisoning. Unless something is growing on the leftovers...

-- helen (got@bucket.handy?), November 26, 2001.


-- Pammy (handing@helen.a bucket, but standing back), November 26, 2001.

Ok,hands up..who else keeps furry friends in their fridge !

-- Chris (Chris@ireland.com), November 26, 2001.

Thanks Pammy...we need a barrel... I don't think I have any furry friends because I completely defrosted and bleached the fridge before throwing the huge dinner. There isn't anything in there old enough to kill me...urp...oh, the kids are suffering. It must be a flu, their bones are aching.

-- helen (hurl@the.gate), November 26, 2001.

Well, I came down with the same symptoms on Sunday evening and I haven't eaten any of your cooking. Do you think that I picked it up from posting on this thread? :<)

Best Wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), November 26, 2001.


-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), November 27, 2001.

I think you're on to sumthin, Z.. I don't feel so swift myself...ugh!

Tis the thread..thanks alot, 'Nita ;)

-- Peg (getting out the cle@ning. supplies to wash this thread down), November 27, 2001.

Sorry, folks. I guess just talking about it is enough to stir the mind into thinking it's REAL. I've gotta admit that I felt pretty crappy yesterday morning when I drove SO to the airport. He said his stomach still hurt, but he had to leave anyway and the diarrhea had stopped. I wondered if I could make it to the airport and back without barfing in the car. Once home, though, I started feeling better. Mind over matter, maybe? [I HAD eaten those sloppy joes and mac/cheese the night before. Nah!]

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 27, 2001.

I had food poisening at age 17. The pain does not go away with vomiting, the dry heaves continue till you're vomiting stomach bile, and you get progressively worse, not better as the night passes. I spent two days with an IV in my arm in extreme discomfort AFTER having been treated for it. Its pretty damn awful.

How did I get food poisening? At age 17..mind you..I used the knife I had just used to cut raw chicken to butter a piece of bread, after only wiping it on a napkin on one side. And the chicken had been sitting on the counter defrosting for like a whole day. (I can hear your stomachs turn now..) (thank god I live and learn :-)

-- kritter (k@a.n), November 28, 2001.

Welcome Kritter! Wash your hands after posting to this thread, it's contagious. ;)

No sign of Helen... I hope she's ok.

-- Pammy (pamela_sue57@hotmail.com), November 28, 2001.

Why, thank you! I believe I may live. Yesterday I made all kinds of promises to God...hope She wrote them down, as I don't remember much except the pain and chilling. Went to work yesterday and don't remember it. Went to work today and they were offering flu shots. I took my very first one today. :)

-- helen (crawling@out.of.my.hole), November 28, 2001.

Anita, one thing jumps out at me from your original post that started this thread: eggnog. If it was homemade with raw eggs, then it is highly suspect for salmonella. If it was commercially made, then the eggs were pastuerized and it's not a suspect.

The other thing I'd like to pass along is that most folks misuse the word "flu" to account for various gastro-intestinal (GI) tract infections.

True influenza (what you get a flu shot to prevent) isn't a barf-fest. It is a lot more likely to bring chills followed by a high fever, muscle aches, sore throat and extreme respiratory symptoms. Every part of you hurts. You entirely lose your appetite, but you don't usually toss your cookies.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), November 28, 2001.

"Every part of you hurts."

That sounds like my day to day existence not the syptoms of flu.

-- Jack Booted Thug (governmentconspiracy@NWO.com), November 28, 2001.

Hi kritter!

I side with Little Nipper on the eggnog issue.

When I was in the hospital, mr roommate had food poisoning. Her doctor came in and explained there are two kinds of food poisoning -- one is from bad food that hits you right away, within hours. The other kind is from food with different bacteria in it that cause toxins to grow and build up in the body and attack viciously -- a few days AFTER eating the bad food. That's why tests are necessary, he told her.

For what it's worth ...

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), November 28, 2001.

So I was supposed to scramble the eggs before putting them in the homemade eggnog? [I bought them at Albertson's the very same day I used them.]

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 28, 2001.


From LN then it is highly suspect for salmonella What LN says would be possible. Particularly if you buy regular eggs from Albertsons. It is not necessarily true.There is increased infection because of the mass production methods. I can actually think of three more organisms that can be contracted from raw eggs that are much more dangerous than salmonella. I won't go further after the glanders discussion with Helen. ;o)))

If you look in the correct section you will find very expensive eggs produced the old way from less productive chickens [they may be designated organic, range fed or something trendy like that]. Those, by test, are less likely to be infected with anything. Of course you could find a small farmer in Dallas and buy there.

Best Wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), November 28, 2001.

Anita, although eggs from an modern 'industrial' chicken factory are usually safe enough, once the symptoms of possible food poisoning have emerged and you start to work backwards looking for a possible cause, raw eggs are a BIG red flag. That's all.

It isn't so much whether the eggs were fresh or old (although chances are good they were laid more than 2 weeks before you bought them). AFAIK, an infected egg is laid infected. For cooked eggs, this isn't so much of a health issue for us consumers. Eat 'em raw and you are playing salmonella roulette.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), November 28, 2001.

That's why the health police say you are not supposed to eat uncooked cookie batter anymore -- it's the high chance of salmonella in the raw eggs.

There goes another childhood memory... no more spatula breaks.

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), November 28, 2001.


I don't work in this field, but, I just read a 500 page PhD thesis dealing with these problems. The literature review dealt with a lot of sources of food poisoning. With regards to eggs, it essentially agrees with what LN said. Now I don't really remember the numbers and the ol'short term memory isn't what it used to be. I remember that when these cases are backtracked, raw eggs are one possibility. Another common source is ground beef. As I recall, it is uncommon if you pay more for the stuff ground in the store compared to the cheaper stuff that is mass produced. Another source is organically produced vegetables produced on a large scale. The feeling is that vegetables produced this way on a small scale by people with a lot of experience is safe. Some of the new entrants to the field don't do a good job composting. I don't remember much more than that. I'm sure that there are other less common sources [such as shell fish].

Best Wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), November 28, 2001.

This is getting too confusing for me. On the one hand, free-range fowl and eggs from same, organic veggies, etc. are preferable, but OTOH, nobody knows if those "organic" people knew their stuff. Their mistakes could kill ya just as sure as the germs in the factory- produced stuff. Of course I could take the "easy way out [Heh]" and raise chickens in my OWN backyard and organic vegetables of my own. I can't even boil some eggs without producing flying missiles, but I could do this?

I was really getting into the "homemade" cooking thing, but I might just go back to microwaved lasagna, cottage cheese, and salad. Beer is still safe, right?

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 28, 2001.


Two things that I won't discuss here.

1. Kissing mules.

2. Beer.

The world has become complicated. But it is really a crap-shoot. Just don't worry about it, except to avoid the obvious threats. Now you don't want to know more about beer [as I open another one]. To start with, there is the problem of Aspergillus infection in malt and Fusarium infection in wheat. If you know a little about this stuff, you worry too much. If you know too much, you begin to ignore it.

I would recommend ignoring most of the scare stuff. Amongst the things that you have to worry about, these should be small potatoes. Now, about potatoes ;o)))

Best Wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), November 28, 2001.

Some research has shown microwaving does not kill near as much bacteria (in chicken for instance) that regular hot stove cooking does.

Just to muddy the water further...

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), November 28, 2001.

LOL, Z. Since I'm a born Pollyanna, I'm gonna ignore most of this discussion. I remember when the kids were little and a neighbor mentioned Impetigo or something? It's that infection that kids get when they plop into their mouth the bubble gum that a truck has just run over. I never worried about germs with my kids. I figured keeping them away from germs was worse than exposing them to germs. If we went somewhere really gross [and we did in some 3rd world countries], I'd just say, "We'll fumigate you on the next stop." They all lived to adulthood. Maybe it's just luck. I dunno.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 28, 2001.

What LN (and Z) said.

Incidentally, I once asked my doctor, an old country gunslinger, about "stomach viruses." He said that, while there are a few, 90% of the time, if you have an upset stomach, it's something you ate. Doctors tell their patients "you've got a stomach bug" just because that's something they'll understand. In fact, viruses that make you nauseous are rare (because most are destroyed by stomach acid).

You'll also learn this in a basic food-handling course (such as a state licensing course for a restaurant; my brother was in the food business for about 15 years): there are three basic kinds of food poisoning ...

1. Staph (and related) -- symptoms manifest within 2-8 hours after eating, you spew from both ends and feel miserable for a day or so, then get over it. Staph germs are so common, this is by far the most common type of stomach bug. The classic "24-hour stomach 'virus'" is actually, in most cases, a case of food that has been tainted by staph.

This is also VERY easy to get, if you don't faithfully keep your food refrigerated, keep your hands and kitchen surfaces clean, etc., etc.

Staph germs live on your body, so a common scenario goes like this: you wash your hands, but a while later, your nose itches; you scratch it (getting staph all over your fingers again). You stick your fingers into the gravy or cheese sauce. It sits at room temperature for several hours while the party is going on, all the while breeding bacteria.

(Hint: people who eat the stuff *later* in the party are the most likely to get sick, because the germs have had more time to grow. This answer the old objection, "but JANE ate the horse dip and SHE didn't get sick?" Maybe Jane missed the batch that had the bacteria; it doesn't necessarily spread evenly through the food -- especially something like a dip or sauce. Maybe she ate it earlier in the evening. Whatever.)

2. Salmonella (and nowdays, E-Coli, though it wasn't wide spread at the time my doctor and Bro lectured me on this) -- there's a lot of confusion here because symptoms won't usually manifest until 24 to 72 hours after eating the bad food. In other words, if you get salmonella, it's not what you had for supper TONIGHT; it's what you had last night or even the night BEFORE.

You feel horrible. You can't keep anything on your stomach for quite some time. Most people won't die from this, they just wish they could. :)

(Another hint: LN is right: yes, eggs are likely to have this straight out of the hen. The good news is, it can be killed by heat. The bad news is, it takes at least 150 degrees to do it reliably. If you cook your eggs so that the whites are still even the LEAST BIT runny, you probably haven't gotten them done enough.)

3. Really serious stuff, such as anaerobic types (like botulism) - these (fortunately) are VERY rare, but are also life threatening. I *always* boil anything starchy out of a can for at LEAST 10 minutes.

And a fourth category: mental attitude, you're very tired, etc. Most people don't realize that severe fatigue feels even worse than a bad flu bug. During the holidays, some people don't get enough sleep ... and the symptoms there are, you feel worse and worse until finally, you get physically sick. But once you go to bed and "sleep it off" -- it may take a day or two, if you're really fatigued! -- you feel like a new person.

THIS is most likely not any sort of pathogen; it's just you overworked yourself!!! Slow down!!!

Helen, WHATEVER caused your case, I feel for you. If you have trouble keeping fluids down, do go get an IV. Yeah, it's a pain in the neck, but about 80% of the yucky feeling you're experiencing right now is plain old dehydration. You've gotta keep replenishing those fluids.

-- Stephen M. Poole (smpoole7@bellsouth.net), November 28, 2001.


You missed the good ones; including the mycoplasma.


Best Wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), November 28, 2001.

Re mycoplasma...

Having had to air rush my son's blood to Wasington DC because of a rare mycoplasma attack, I already know more than I want to about this entity halfway between virus and bacteria. A few folks in medical annals were reported hospitalized and did not survive. (rare event) Doxycycline (same as stuff for anthrax) worked real fast though. Thanks for the flashback.

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), November 28, 2001.

Thanks, Stephen. No need for IV. Just send someone over to remove the truck parked on my head. :)

-- helen (glanders@in.flanders), November 29, 2001.

For the love of God, Oxy, I'm sorry!

-- helen (fox@paws.tracks), November 29, 2001.

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