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deni's avatar

Can you help me figure out what this illness was? Food poisoning, the flu, or something else?

Asked by deni (22607points) January 14th, 2013

I am going to try to include only the pertinent information. I have never had the flu before, nor have I ever had food poisoning from something I ate. So I’m not familiar with the effects either one would have on me.

Basically I was on about a week’s vacation while my friend came out to visit from across the country…Me, her, and my boyfriend embarked on a trip from here to southern Utah to do some hiking (we’re desert rats in the making)....well, the second day into our trip, early in the day, I started feeling a tiny bit of heartburn. I very very rarely get heartburn. I ignored it. After a hike, we got in the car to do a 5-hour leg of driving. We stopped to get gas and after inspecting the hot dogs carefully I did decide to get one. My reasoning only being that it was a tiny gas station, middle of nowhere, not much else in the way of food, and the one guy who did own it seemed to be very on top of things (he had me check how much coffee was left, for example.) I figured ALRIGHT maybe these dogs will be okay. My boyfriend also had one. I ate this delicious hot dog with ketchup mustard and jalapenos on it. Scarfed it. Maybe a half hour later my heartburn came back, started to get worse. I started feeling terrible…dry….heartburn was really bad, my stomach started to hurt a bit too. When we stopped next, I did have mild diarrhea. I got some pepto bismal and took some. Immediately I felt slightly better. About an hour later into the drive the heartburn was raging, absolutely horrible. Then, all of a sudden I said PULL OVER!!!!!! I leaned out the car door and vomited everywhere, so many times. The hot dog had not even been digested. It was the worst vomiting experience of my life. However, IMMEDIATELY I felt amazing. Nothing was wrong except for the jalapenos burning my nose, and that was really really horrendous. That night I felt okay aside from the nose, but I didn’t really eat. Think I had an orange and some blueberries.

The next 4 days I was hiking a lot, but still had no appetite. I still had heartburn on and off all day. The one day, it would only occur whenever I would stand up. Isn’t that weird? If I laid down i was fine…but I stood up and boom, in the face. I had nausea on and off those 4 days also, and even water I could barely bring myself to drink. I just didn’t desire it at all, but I did it anyhow. The one morning I woke up with a pounding headache (that has never happened to me before either.) Over that 4 day span I had one meal, a steak with mashed potatoes and a salad. I noticed every time I swallowed anything, real food, fruit, water, it just didn’t want to go down. It was like it was getting stuck in my esophagus.

I also had my period with really terrible cramps and a sore back during this, so I’m not sure if any of those symptoms were related to that instead but I don’t think they were. My periods are pretty consistent in how they effect me.

Anyhow, sorry this is long, but I just still am not sure what it was and would like to know. Other things that might help—my mom did have really bad acid reflux which she had surgery for about 10 years ago. She still gets really bad heartburn and nothing helps it, for the most part. Sometimes she is up all night, unable to lay down. As far as it possibly being the flu…I had no chills, fever, I wasn’t fatigued, didn’t have diarrhea at all really….

Any idea? I only assume it wasn’t food poisoning because multiple people told me that it takes about 24 hours to incubate, so therefore it wouldn’t have been the hot dog. Guess it could have been something the day before but I was eating very simple foods, mostly fruit, since we were traveling.


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12 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

It sounds a little bit like when I had a stomach ulcer. Gas station hot dog probably didn’t help- never eat from a gas station dear ones.

The only thing that ever worked for me was to drink Sprite or 7 up and no real food for a day or two, then go back to bland foods only.

deni's avatar

@KNOWITALL As I observed the hot dogs I literally had this thought “This has the potential to make me feel like a real pile of shit.” Then I got one anyhow. It was my first and last. However the only reason I don’t think it was entirely due to the dog was because I did have some heartburn before I ate it too, and that in itself let me know something was wrong because of how infrequently I do get any heartburn whatsoever.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I got a lot of my symptoms when I was emotional, like excited, sad, mad, etc…so perhaps you made yourself sick with excitement, then followed that up with a nasty hot dog, then you followed it up with acidic oranges. Sounds like a death wish to me…lol Good luck.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Flu would have made you “want to die”, fever with lung and breathing problems.
Bad food poisoning would had you attached to the “John”.

The above not an answer but ulcer maybe. Sounds like a trip to Dr if it happens again.

burntbonez's avatar

Do you feel bad enough that you want to see a doctor? Is it over? If it’s over and you don’t want to see a doctor than all the Monday morning quarterbacking in the world isn’t going to help you avoid this in the future.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

If it happens the next time you a piece of greasy fried chicken or a hot dog. Go see a Dr, it could be grease induced like Gall Stones.

deni's avatar

@burntbonez No, I never thought I’d go see a doctor. I assumed there was just something I’d eaten that didn’t agree with me. Like I said I felt well enough to one day do a 10 mile hike, but I did complain a lot and had a lot of moderate heartburn the whole time. That was the day I said it hurt whenever I stood up, which I thought was bizarre. I just figured these symptoms would be enough to possibly tell what had happened so I could avoid it again or whatever. It’s simply curiosity at this point though, I think it was just a freak thing.

burntbonez's avatar

I understand that you are curious, but any responses you get from amateurs really won’t mean a thing. You’ve got to see a professional if you want to have any chance of a decent diagnosis, but even then, you’ll not be sure. Doctors don’t always know, and sometimes they get it wrong, and sometimes they make mistakes. But it’s better than what you’ll get from amateurs.

filmfann's avatar

Food poisoning can happen as quickly as 15 minutes after you eat.
Since you had some heartburn before the hotdog, I would guess you had a mild case of the flu. Yeah, I said mild. I had it bad, and messed myself while I was bent over vomiting.

deni's avatar

@filmfann Holy shit. My goodness. Well, I feel lucky now ha!

deni's avatar

@burntbonez Yes but that is the whole point of this website. I don’t really go to the doctor ever so I’m not going to make an appointment for something that is already passed especially. I just thought maybe someone else had experienced this.

spykenij's avatar

From growing up around doctors, nurses and pharmacists and some from personal experience, I would say it is safe to say you are very likely to either have or develope acid reflux, so lay off the spicy food – period and talk to your doctor about prescribing something for this. Just because a few things haven’t worked for your mom, doesn’t mean they won’t work for you. Also, your mom should talk to her doctor about trying something else. There are quite a few things out that may help and if insurance doesn’t cover it, find out about prior authorizations or appealing it. That’s what I do now for a living and if you keep appealing and supplying detailed info and your doc’s recommendation, you might get an approval. Never hurts to ask. Finally, I recommend having your gall bladder checked. It could be filled with sludge or stones. A nuclear HIDA scan :) also another field I’ve worked in :) will tell them if it’s plugged up.

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