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juniper's avatar

Is this food poisoning or stomach flu?

Asked by juniper (1905points) September 3rd, 2010

I’m sick, and I have no idea what’s going on. Here’s what happened. First, I woke up at about 1 am, Wed morning with terrible stomach discomfort and diarrhea. That lasted for about 3 hours—I slept on and off, poorly. Then, at about 4 am, I woke up feeling awful, promptly vomited, and immediately felt better. I chalked it up to some bad watermelon (the only thing I had eaten that evening, weirdly enough.)

Wednesday I felt weak, but Wednesday night I slept perfectly.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I experience Part 2 of this nightmare at 1 am, Friday. No vomiting this time, but plenty of discomfort and diarrhea. Now it’s Friday morning and I feel weak, very dizzy, and just BAD. I’m at work, and I’m afraid I might have to duck out of a meeting to throw up. Ugh.

What do you think? Could I have somehow been exposed twice to whatever gave me the food poisoning the first night (I was very careful and did not eat anything I had eaten the night before)? Or is it not food poisoning at all, but a stomach flu with an odd break in between?

I’m afraid it’s going to keep happening unless I determine the culprit. Help!

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12 Answers

marinelife's avatar

See a doctor.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I agree with @marinelife, you need to see a doctor. Have you been trying to keep hydrated while you’ve been sick? The dizziness and weakness could be related to your hydration level. Have you been eating anything to help with the energy you are burning by being at work? Honestly, I think you should tell your boss you are sick, go home, and try to get in to see your doctor today. You really don’t want to spend the whole weekend sick, do you? If you put it off over the weekend, you could end up feeling much worse (especially if you are dehydrated and continue to get more dehydrated over the weekend).

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I 3rd the motion for you to contact your doctor, and please leave work as soon as possible. If it is intestinal flu, it is contagious, and your co-workers won’t appreciate your being there. Only medical tests can diagnose what is really going on.

Seaminglysew's avatar

I agree with Pied Pfeffer. Leave work and see a doctor, I’m sure you don’t want to spread this. Hope you feel better soon.

Ben_Dover's avatar

Could be either…or both. more data is required. Your doctor can tell you more. If it is food poisoning you cannot spread it unless you share the tainted fod. Did you eat sushi recently?

What did you eat that makes you suspect food poisoning?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
cazzie's avatar

We discussed this just a while back. Some intestinal bacteria that have been introduced through a food source do not leave the host in an orderly and prompt manner. (sorry…) but do need treatment with antibiotics. They can appear like flu, but without lab work, it is impossible to tell. If you are still symptomatic you need to go to the doctor and find out what is going on.

Winters's avatar

I had a similar experience with Niacin poisoning, but as everyone else has been saying, go see the doc.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Yes it sounds like food poisoning, and basically there is no such thing as “stomach flu.” Virtually every case of reported “stomach flu” is in fact food poisoning. There are many types of food poisoning, but from what you describe it does not yet sound like an emergency. The reasons to go to a hospital for suspected food poisoning are:
* Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea lasts for more than two days.
* The ill person is younger than three years.
* The abdominal symptoms are associated with a low-grade fever.
* Symptoms begin after recent foreign travel.
* Other family members or friends who ate the same thing are also sick.
* The ill person cannot keep any liquids down.
* The ill person does not improve within two days even though they are drinking large amounts of fluids.
* The ill person has a disease or illness that weakens their immune system (for example, HIV/AIDS, cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, kidney disease).
* The ill person cannot take their normal prescribed medications because of vomiting.
* The ill person has any nervous system symptoms such as slurred speech, muscle weakness, double vision, or difficulty swallowing.
* Bloody diarrhea
Source: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/food_poisoning/page4_em.htm#When%20to%20Seek%20Medical%20Care
Watermelon is NOT a likely cause if it was from an American commercial farm. It would be a more likely cause if it were grown in a 3rd world country where they use raw sewage for fertlizer.
What else did you have? Cold salads and leafy vegetables are an often overlooked source of food poisoning. The most common cause is poor sanitation such as restaurant employees not washing their hands before cutting vegetables, and liquids dripping from raw chicken to vegetables in an improperly stocked restaurant refrigerator.

Rarebear's avatar

“Stomach flu” and “food poisoning” are lay terms for a symptomatic intestinal infection (usually but not always viral), often caused by food contamination.

faye's avatar

And there are many viruses that cause these symptoms. There is also clostridium difficile that would cause these symptoms, very contagious and you need medication to heal up. Have you been on antibiotics lately? Or visited someone in hospital or a nursing home? We used to worry about Norwalk virus when I was working, as well.

Cruiser's avatar

Stomach flu’s are bacterial in nature and can wreck havoc for a couple days. If you aren’t already, follow the guide lines of the Brat Diet. Also maintain very strict hand washing and sanitizing of door knobs and hand towels to prevent transmittal of the belly bug to others and/or back to you.

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