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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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