What the hell was wrong with me?
April 25, 2007 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Does the famed "24 hour bug" really exist, and if so, what is it?

A quick google reveals that most 24 hour "bugs" are food poisoning. But I recently had fever, chills, body aches, no nausea or other GI symptoms, and it lasted almost 24 hours. Then--nothing, I'm fine. Sounds like the flu, but that lasts at least a few days, right? I usually assume any sickness I get is either a cold or the flu, but I know there's a wide world of little bugs out there. My quick recovery made me curious about this layman's medical term.
posted by Mavri to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, it exists. When I lived in Athens, GA, there was a bad case of the norovirus that went around town. It is bloody contagious. My roommate whom I shared a bathroom with and a bunch of coworkers got it- I'm still not sure how I avoided that hell. Literally, you could count down 24-36 hours from when they first got sick and they'd miraculously be functional. To them, it pretty much felt like the flu compacted into a 24-hour time period.

And, yes, the flu typically lasts a couple of days, though the body's a funny thing and it affects different people differently for different lengths of time.
posted by jmd82 at 12:16 PM on April 25, 2007

A second for the Norwalk virus. When I took microbiology last year, the professor told us the "24-hour flu" is usually a case of Norwalk.

It's the same illness that people often get on cruise ships.

I got it last year (and so did my then boyfriend... and his friends... and their friends... oops), and it really is basically everything horrible about the flu, multiplied by 10, and squished into 24-36 hrs.
posted by Amanda B at 1:24 PM on April 25, 2007

I had exactly this about a month ago -- 24 hours of fever, serious chills, and a dizzy feeling. No GI problems, no sneezing or congestion. Perfectly fine about 1 day later.
posted by Mid at 2:56 PM on April 25, 2007

I've had something like this a number of times in the past year, actually. Not so severe, but fever, chills, maybe a headache etc - and then better the next day.

I mentioned it to my doctor. She said that she had no idea what it could be - but that it was odd, somebody else had asked her the same thing the day before.

I'm hoping it's just my immune system in overdrive, keeping me from getting something worse - I haven't had as much as a cold in the past year (apart from this), which is really unusual for me.
posted by wyzewoman at 5:16 PM on April 25, 2007

There are hundreds, maybe thousands of viruses that infect people with only a mild syndrome. You can read about them in any virology textbook - their variety is rather interesting.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:37 PM on April 25, 2007

A possible substitute for a 24-hour influenza would be minor food-poisoning. A bacterial infection from tainted food would give you the fever and aches you could expect from a virus... but I am not a doctor.
posted by Mozai at 2:02 PM on January 23, 2008

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