Anybody have a stomach flu horror story? How long did it last?
September 29, 2009 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Does any one have stomach flu (gastroenteritis) horror stories? I am going day 5 and I have never heard of anyone having it longer than 2 days.
posted by burlsube to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I had it for 3 days + 7 days on antibiotics. Net sickness time was around 6 days. Threw up more than I have in my entire life. It was also the first time I passed out.

Suppose it could've been worse, but it was the worst illness I've had in my short life...
posted by ttyn at 6:49 PM on September 29, 2009

I had a really bad stomach flu a couple of years ago. After around 5 days I went to the ER on the advice of a relative who is a nurse, but the doctors didn't seem very concerned. "Diarrhea is good for you! It cleans you out!" is the direct quote. But they did give me some IV saline solution for possible dehydration, so that's something.
posted by amethysts at 7:00 PM on September 29, 2009

Just got over it. 7 full days of total non-movement, including 3 days not knowing which end I would be sick from. Holy hell I can't remember ever being that sick.
posted by CwgrlUp at 7:01 PM on September 29, 2009

I was sick sick sick once and it turned out not to be the flu, but a food-borne (presumably???) shigella virus. They had to put me on anti-nausea meds. If it keeps up, you might want to see your doctor....

Tip: drink gatorade rather than water, especially if you're not managing to keep real food down. The salts etc. can definitely help the overall feelings of horribleness.

I hope you feel better soon!
posted by kestrel251 at 7:06 PM on September 29, 2009

Salmonella usually lasts for four to seven days ("although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal"). Campylobacter usually lasts about a week. Viral gastroenteritis lasts from one to ten days.

I hope you're feeling better soon.
posted by Ery at 7:07 PM on September 29, 2009

As kestrel suggests, you might want to see your doctor. Even if your doc confirms that you don't have some other serious condition, some anti-nausea drugs can make it just a bit more bearable (they have suppositories for when you can't even keep the pills down). Do your best to keep yourself hydrated, which may require IV fluids if the dehydration gets bad enough. Being that dehydrated makes the miserable feelings so many times worse.

You might also be able to call your doctor's office and get a prescription called in if you don't think you need an exam and your doctor agrees.
posted by zachlipton at 7:13 PM on September 29, 2009

Hoo yeah, 10 days for me. Flat gingerale, popsicles, chicken broth, and mint tea was all I could keep down. (On the upside, I'd lost a lot of weight by the time I was done with it).
posted by LN at 7:44 PM on September 29, 2009

Drag yourself to the doctor somehow. Even if it's food poisoning and there's not much they can do for you medicine-wise, if you can manage to get a unit or two of IV fluids run you will feel a lot better.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:44 PM on September 29, 2009

I don't mean this facetiously, but seriously: you might have swine flu. Vomiting and diarrhea's been associated with this outbreak.
posted by WCityMike at 7:47 PM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

There was a bug a few years back (Norwalk or something similar) that laid us to waste. The kids got it and recovered in a day or two. The missus and I were in bad shape for over a week. Haven't been that sick before or since (knocks on wood).

2nding the gatorade or other electrolyte-bearing drink, if you can bear it.

Pepto is works pretty well as an antidiarrheal/anti-nausea. Some folks take it with every meal when they're hit with traveler's sickness - I don't go anywhere without it. Immodium also works well, and can be taken in pretty high doses. Check with your doctor &c.

Hang in there.
posted by jquinby at 7:49 PM on September 29, 2009

The reason that this came to mind was because it's my understanding that the duration of a bout with swine flu is on par with what you're dealing with, i.e., longer than the usual outbreak.
posted by WCityMike at 7:49 PM on September 29, 2009

Oooooh yeah, I caught gastroenteritis off some bad oysters a few years back. I was sick sick sick for 10 days. Around the clock diarrhea and vomiting (and that was nothing but bright green bile or dry heaves). I couldn't keep down anything but toast and applesauce.

Plus it was apparently "ulcerative" gastroenteritis, so my stomach hurt something horrible, and it was viral, so antibiotics didn't do a damned thing. I did get some anti-nausea pills which helped a touch.

And this was all over the winter holidays which was good in that I wasn't sick at school, but bad in that I missed all of the fun over the break. I spent New Year's Eve watching Garden State on a laptop in the bathroom. No fun at all.

Feel better soon!
posted by internet!Hannah at 7:53 PM on September 29, 2009

You do want to make sure it isn't some particularly nasty type of food poisoning. I spent over a week in the hospital with that once-bleeding from places no human should ever bleed from. Just saying.

If I hadn't been so young and healthy at the time, it could have been really really serious.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:11 PM on September 29, 2009

I was knocked on my butt by norovirus for over a week a couple years back. Have you been to a doctor yet? Do you have a fever? The reason I ask is that I learned from experience that dehydration + fever can lead to all sorts of unpleasant things that can become life-threatening.
posted by chez shoes at 8:16 PM on September 29, 2009

Oh man, you want a horror story?

I was on co-op in a city far away from my family and my college (although I was lucky enough to have a doctor-uncle in town, as you'll see later). I woke up about 5am with shivers and cold sweats. After dozing for 20 minutes at a time and waking up freezing again, I stagger into the bathroom and vomit projectively into my toilet.

I repeat that for another two hours and then suddenly I open my eyes and see white everywhere. I don't remember where I am ("Is this City1? Am I in State2?") for about 30 seconds, and then I find that I've passed out while vomiting and collapsed on my bathroom floor, staring at my bathtub. This happens twice more and I call my uncle to ask "Is this bad?"

He came and picked me up and I apparently spent about 12 hours in the ER. To draw blood for testing they had to get a syringe because it didn't want to come out of me. I went through 2+ bags of saline to get my dehydration under control. I missed work for a week because I was still suffering from it and it took me almost two weeks to feel normal again.

Best part? I got it again, a month later, but (luckily?) only for a night. My husband never lets me forget that I vomited potato skins (whole - apparently I need to chew better!) all over his arm and into our hotel bathtub.

Take care of yourself. Make sure you stay hydrated - if you can't keep anything down, swish water or ice around in your mouth and it'll get absorbed through your membranes. Chicken stock heated up in the microwave is a great sick drink (the low-sodium tastes better). Ditto on jello and applesauce.

If you haven't been to a doctor, you may want to go and get checked out.
posted by bookdragoness at 8:58 PM on September 29, 2009

Oh, I meant to second the anti-nausea meds - they're magic if you're continually vomiting/dry-heaving. Mine kind of made me insane, but it was better than passing out from puking.
posted by bookdragoness at 8:59 PM on September 29, 2009

Me - senior in high school, on senior retreat and bam! Stomach flu - 5 days and nights of barfing and diarrhea plus terrible muscle aches and I was in a strange place - not home. It was horrible. Good luck, and I hope you are better soon!
posted by Lynsey at 9:12 PM on September 29, 2009

Ten days. Virus.
Go to a doctor.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:36 PM on September 29, 2009

Yes, nthing doctor. Until then, though, Gatorade cut with water--my doctor-sister has recommended that to me in the past, since apparently too much sugar can exacerbate stomach-badness issues. And wonton soup or miso have both helped me with bouts of nausea (especially at that later stage, when you're just starting to feel like you might be able to keep something down).
posted by paleography at 9:55 PM on September 29, 2009

Three days, food-borne norovirus, managed to infect Mr. F sometime during the Shit Explosion Incident on Day Two. He didn't get quite as big a dose as I did, though, and only had it for about 36 hours. I seriously threw up more than I ever have in my entire adult existence in the first 12 hours.

Call your doc and get some advice on whether or not you should go have some IV rehydration and maybe an anti-emetic drug.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:03 PM on September 29, 2009

I had some sort of hideous stomach flu for 5 days this winter, but by the 4th day I was ok enough to eat regular foods as long as I was very careful and didn't try to do too much. But yes, you should get to a doctor - when I lived in Southeast Asia I met several people who'd had loved ones who died of dehydration complications due to diarrhea.

Beyond that, ginger really, really works. I actually drank several liters of flat ginger ale generously sprinkled with ginger powder when I was sick and it helped a lot. You could also make ginger tea if you have some ginger root in the house.
posted by lunasol at 11:32 PM on September 29, 2009

Seven days. While on vacation. I had to be given Serious Pain Meds (I almost wanna say Belladonna, these where don't fuck with me pills) and kinda made it worse by not treating it right in the first few days (I got really dehydrated, I stopped eating, I didn't rest, etc). The 2nd day was the worse, cause I had no idea what was going on and I was coming out both ends and the PAIN and I ended up collapsing in front of the TV thinking "OH god, I'm gonna die and the last thing I'll see is Jay Mohr's face." I spent hours in a warm bathtub cause the pain was so bad but I didn't want to see a doctor overseas, so I just made it worse and by then it was clear it wasn't food poisoning cause it was still bad 24 hours after I Stopped Eating. I ended up breaking down and going and got antibiotics and the aforementioned Serious Pain Meds and it still took over a week until I was on my feet and not eating crackers and ginger-ale and peppermint tea.
posted by The Whelk at 12:26 AM on September 30, 2009

Another datapoint. About 7 days for me. So bad I had to go onto a drip.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 2:23 AM on September 30, 2009

I was once laid up for stomach flu for about 7 days, and then immediately contracted regular flu afterwards, so total sick time, about 14 days. The doctor was rather sympathetic.
posted by so much modern time at 6:06 AM on September 30, 2009

Came out of a stint of this two weeks ago. I had it for about 10 days. Antibiotics and other drugs for the last 5 days or so. Sickest I've ever been in my life. Lost a lot of weight.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:49 AM on September 30, 2009

one word: cryptosporidium.

It's probably not what you have - water treatment has improved greatly in the US - but it killed two (immuno-compromised) friends of mine, and I was sick with it for weeks.
posted by desjardins at 8:17 AM on September 30, 2009

I've been knocked out from anywhere between 3 days to 2 weeks, although admittedly the latter incident ended up being amoebic dysentery. That time, I put off going to the hospital til I realized that the puking had left me so dehydrated that I hadn't peed in 3 days. (Also my tongue cracking down the middle and only bleeding thick, sluggish blood was a good OMFG HOSPITAL NOW clue.) It eventually took 4.5 bags of lactated ringer's to make me stop looking like a thousand year old Incan mummy.

DO NOT take any kind of antidiarrheal meds - whatever's in you wants to get out very urgently for a reason, and preventing it from doing so can lead to gross, horrible, terrifyingly bloody situations.

Try to avoid dairy products, as violent upsets to the stomach flora can lead to temporary (and sometimes permanent) lactose intolerance, which is the last goddamn thing you need if you're already asploding from both ends.
posted by elizardbits at 12:33 PM on September 30, 2009

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