Stomach flu? Food poisoning? Or bad spinach?
It seems like we’ve got a host of bugs flitting around town lately – but are they viral or bacterial? Food borne, or transmitted through other methods? Lurking in a package of spinach that can’t be washed clean – or having a field day on my kitchen counter?
I didn’t much care – after all a roiling gut is just a roiling gut, right? – until it happened to ME. But now that I’m finally able to stagger over to a computer without doubling over, well – I want ANSWERS.
My judicious consultation this evening with Doctor Google informed me that there really is no such thing as ‘stomach flu’ – instead, you’re typically dealing with one or two food or human-transmitted viruses that can incubate up to 48 hours before making their presence known. So it’s probably pretty unlikely that the steam table with food present for an indeterminate time (not to mention the bowl of greens that may or may not have contained spinach) I consumed mere minutes before breaking out with, um, pretty definitive symptoms was responsible, right?
…trying to track down my food consumption over the last week has me casting a skeptical eye at everything, determined to thoroughly scrub my kitchen down from top to bottom (once I fully recover, that is), and washing my hands every other minute with anti-bacterial soap.
The first clue? The kids are fine – which means the crockpot as culprit gets ruled out, I need not feel guilty about filling them with fast food this week (due to a heavy evening meeting schedule) instead of home cooked meals lovingly prepared with my own two hands and our overall hygeine habits must be okay if they managed to escape the Killer Bugs that were refusing to concede defeat despite multiple doses of Imodium.
But unfortunately, the search stalls here. Was it the enchilada plate Monday night at a favorite local chain? (Please say no.) The jailhouse vittles served up while I was doing a Good Deed? Or merely an expired yogurt at work I failed to check the date on? Did I shake one too many of the wrong hands at all of those evening meetings? Or fail to wash my own hands after putting the beef in the crockpot – where it then cooked for hours, killing all available bugs?
Finally – to complicate matters, there’s the fact I was having spiky, high fevers. Symptoms that seemed to point at the ‘flu’ part of stomach flu. And hearing through the grapevine of similar affected PDXers – people who probably hadn’t eaten at the same places I had, or traveled in the same circles.
So – is there really a real live stomach flu sweeping PDX? Are we all just simutaneously getting lax about our food hygeine? Or is this a case of cooks slipping spinach past unsuspecting diners – with disasterous results?
You tell me… And while you’re at it, tell me about your own personal food ‘thanks, but no thanks…’ (I now have steam table stuff on my list, thanks to the wise words of a friend.)