What made me sick last night?
July 24, 2017 7:35 AM   Subscribe

During the night I experienced the most violent nausea and vomiting ever. Midday today, and my throat is still raw; otherwise ok. Here's what I ate ...

Yesterday I ate the following and became badly ill during the nite. Are any of these particularly suspect?

● pancakes, canadian bacon, banana
● 1 egg w cheese & homemade green chile sause (precooked)
● 1 enchilada (homemade, baked 20 minutes: tortilla, cooked ground beef, Pace salsa)
● bbq chips
● peach (washed)
● ear of corn (fresh)*
● tamale (chili/cheese, packaged, Trader Joe)*
● green beans (fresh, washed, steamed)
● basil (fresh, washed)
● apple fritter

* One other piece of info: my microwave is 1250w, so I usually set it for ~10-15% less time than a package calls for.
AND I cook corn even less, per preference. So I prolly nuked the unshucked ear for only 1.5 minutes.
posted by SallyHitMeOntheHead to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am not a doctor, but, I would assume that it was something that you ate at supper.

I don't think that you would have had this reaction to any food that you would have eaten 12 hours previously.

My guess would be the Trader Joe's tamale.

I hope that you feel better soon!
posted by Hanuman1960 at 7:46 AM on July 24, 2017

Were you around anyone who may have had a stomach virus within 48 hours of the incident? It sounds more like norovirus than food poisoning, especially if you didn't have any diarrhea. And most bacterial food poisoning takes a little while to incubate, so I wouldn't point to the last thing you ate.

It's also possible you had an allergic reaction, or that it's a side effect of some medication? But I'd bet money it was a simple stomach virus.
posted by witchen at 7:47 AM on July 24, 2017 [11 favorites]

It didn't have to come from food. There are highly virulent "stomach bug" viruses that can be picked up easily. The best way to thwart them is through frequent hand washing. Nothing on your list looks particularly suspect.
posted by quince at 7:48 AM on July 24, 2017 [15 favorites]

Food poisoning can incubate as long as 36-48 hours to get to the point where you actually get physically ill. The inclination that most people have attribute it to what they ate 'last' or sometime in the last 24 hours, but that's not always the case. You might need to stretch that timeline out a few more days to find the likely culprit (and even then it's really difficult to pinpoint unless you were eating dumpster-yogurt or something...).
posted by furnace.heart at 7:49 AM on July 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

Could you have some kind of GERD/stomach acid problem? That can manifest as nausea and vomiting, and you had a bunch of high-acid foods (the salsa, the peach, the BBQ chips, the tamale's chili, etc.). When I've had food poisoning, the vomiting wasn't limited to once—it kept going for hours. High acid foods for me are fruits, tomatoes (sauce etc.), and chocolate. Sometimes I accidentally stack too much up in one day and my stomach flips out., even though I have to take omeprazole daily.
posted by clone boulevard at 8:02 AM on July 24, 2017

I would just assume stomach virus. They can come and go fast and furious. Not pleasant.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:11 AM on July 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you're convinced it was food poisoning, especially if you think it was the Trader Joe's tamale, you should call your local public health department and report that you had food poisoning. They will call you back (at least mine called me back) and made me list everything I'd eaten in the 48 hours previous and where I had bought it. This sucked because I'd had salad with multiple ingredients from multiple sources. I assumed they only called if there was a cluster, but they say they call everyone and then use that to identify possible clusters.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:25 AM on July 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

It doesn't really work this way. Food poisoning has variable incubation periods, and you can get similarly sick by other means. People always jump to the conclusion that it's something they ate last, but it often isn't. Even if you ate a risky food, it could have been something else - even one you wouldn't really suspect, if at some point it was contaminated.

Most of the time you just can't tell for sure.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:26 AM on July 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

A bacterial infection could come from something you ate day before yesterday. Norovirus could come from touching anything touched by an infected person over the past day or two, especially food. Allergies would likely come from the last thing you ate, would start soon after eating, and you would feel much better after vomiting.

One other cause, not mentioned above, is passing a gallstone. That can cause pain and nausea with vomiting. If you noticed any sticky yellowish or greenish stuff (bile) in vomit that did not look like what you ate, that's another indication.
posted by jraenar at 8:30 AM on July 24, 2017

I got food poisoning from a Trader Joe's tamale once. So that's my bet.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:40 AM on July 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

If it happens again, it might be worth seeing a gastroenterologist to rule out a gallbladder problem. Especially if you have had an fat in your diet that day.
posted by merejane at 8:55 AM on July 24, 2017

During the night I experienced the most violent nausea and vomiting ever.

If you were feeling fine earlier in the day and are already back to feeling largely fine, this is much more the viral pattern than the food poisoning pattern. There's an instinctive reaction to associate this sort of thing with food--I had trouble eating sushi from anywhere for a long time after my last bout of norovirus even though I was 100% sure it was viral (it ran through my school like wildfire), just because that was the last thing I ate before it started. When it's really food-borne illness, it's more likely to either not be as severe, or take longer than a day to clear up.

The exception to this would be if anything on that list consists of foods you don't normally have. It is totally possible to develop a new allergy to something like peaches as an adult. But you'd probably have been feeling poorly before dinner if it was the peach, and stone fruit and nuts are the most common things I know of for that.
posted by Sequence at 9:11 AM on July 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

This happened to me once when I was on a ski trip and sharing a hotel room with a friend. I fell out of my bed at night while sleeping and got myself back up into bed. Moments later, I ran into the bathroom and vomited. I had no recollection of any of this the next morning other than a little rawness in my throat. It was not until my friend ask if I was okay in the morning, I slowly gain a fuzzy recollection and felt a slight bump on my head.

Did you hit your head anytime recently? Don't rule out a mild concussion.
posted by gloturtle at 9:30 AM on July 24, 2017

I got food poisoning from a Trader Joe's tamale once. So that's my bet.

I've eaten hundreds of those TJ's tamales and never had a problem.
posted by rhizome at 9:35 AM on July 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

Hi. I'm a person who had this experience two summers in a row while vacationing with my entire family. Literally everyone in the family was eating and drinking the same things I was, and nobody got sick, which was weird. I was among the entire family, so if it was a virus it's weird that nobody else got it. I was crazy sick for 24 hours, and then it was gone. The next summer, the exact same thing. Sometimes there's just no answer.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:04 AM on July 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Most of what people call a stomach bug is food poisoning. Some varieties of food poisoning release toxins that survive cooking.
posted by theora55 at 11:05 AM on July 24, 2017

The FDA puts out a handy chart that details the different types of foodborne illness, incubation periods, common sources, and the duration of the illness, found here. I often look at it after I've had a stomach bug, but unless a friend or family member also got sick and we shared a meal, it's like reading tea leaves.

It sounds like norovirus to me, since the wake up sick/better by morning pattern reflects every time I've had norovirus. If it was indeed food-borne, I'd probably suspect the homemade foods or any store-bought produce before packaged foods.
posted by castlebravo at 11:19 AM on July 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Do you have ovaries? Could have been a ruptured ovarian cyst if so.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:31 PM on July 24, 2017

So much excellent info here. (nope, no ovaries here)

And one other factor has come to light: I inadvertently took a double dose of Cymbalta the night before. After reading about it today, I realize it's a more powerful drug than I knew, and doubling on a dose is discouraged very sternly. Nausea and vomiting are included in a list of possible effects.

My take-away is, well, it happened, and it's over, and I can't be certain what caused it. But I learned a lot about the differences food poisoning, stomach bug, novovirus, etc.

Thanks all!
posted by LonnieK at 7:26 PM on July 24, 2017

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