Bad Pastrami

One Case of Food Poisoning

woman with abdominal pain
Cramping, vomiting and diarrhea are all symptoms of food poisoning. coloroftime / Getty Images

The family was hungry and Melissa helped the kids dig around the pantry to find a late lunch. After she had everyone else well on their way to grilled cheese sandwiches, she fixed herself a warm pastrami sandwich from the leftover pastrami in the fridge. It had been in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Everyone else had eaten the pastrami at one time or another since it had been opened, but she was the first to warm it.

First Symptom - Indigestion:

The first indicator that something was wrong was the bad case of indigestion Melissa felt after lunch. She was playing a board game with the kids and thinking that she must be getting old if pastrami gives her indigestion. She took an antacid and waited for it to pass.

Second Symptom - Nausea & Vomiting:

Within a few minutes, Melissa started feeling nauseated. She tried lying down on the couch to see if it would pass, but it did not. Within 30 minutes of the onset of nausea, she began vomiting.

Third Symptom - Diarrhea:

Melissa developed diarrhea about an hour after the vomiting started. Both the vomiting and the diarrhea continued for nearly 12 hours straight.

Food Poisoning:

Food poisoning is not really food poisoning at all, but really a food-borne illness from bacteria that grows on the food. Melissa ate the pastrami that she had heated in the microwave and gotten sick from some bacteria on it.

We will probably never know exactly what bacteria she ingested, but the most common symptoms of food poisoning are vomiting and diarrhea.

Melissa became very weak from her severe diarrhea and vomiting. She lost over 10 pounds of fluid in the 12 hours she was sick. Such a sudden loss of body fluid results in dehydration and imbalanced electrolytes much like victims of heat exhaustion experience.

Melissa had a severe headache, muscle aches, and cramps - all related to the dehydration.

Shock is a serious decrease in blood pressure from loss of body fluid. If Melissa had continued to be sick much longer, she could have developed a form of shock. She would defenitely have required hospitalization.

First Aid for Dehydration

Rehydration was accomplished by drinking water and sports drinks once Melissa could hold down fluids. In really severe cases (this case is probably severe enough) the patient may have to be rehydrated with intravenous fluid. It's certainly not a bad idea to go to an emergency room for weakness, especially when you think it may be from dehydration.

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