by Guest Blogger, Sarah Pope, The Healthy Home Economist Blog
April 6, 2010
In the Spring of my eighth grade year, I experienced a very severe and life changing case of food borne illness. I’ll never forget being at my Grandparent’s home when the first feelings of nausea and an overall sense that something very bad was about to happen hit me just a few hours after eating at a fast food chicken joint. I barely made it home before the full fury of salmonella hit. The next week was a complete blur. I lived and even slept in the bathtub as the fluids coming out of me from both directions were completely uncontrollable and the spasms came with little time to react. My parents managed to keep me hydrated enough to stay out of the hospital. How I managed to come through the ordeal without at least one visit to the ER for fluids is nothing short of amazing and a testament to the nursing skills of my Mom and Dad. My petite frame took a beating nonetheless. I lost 15 lbs in a little less than 2 weeks and was nothing short of skin and bones when it was finally over. It took me at least a few months to fully recover my appetite and strength and over a year to regain all the weight I had lost.
I have often wondered why my brother didn’t get salmonella as well. We both ate the tainted chicken; why did I become so gravely ill and he seemed to experience no negative effects whatsoever? I now know that the composition of my gut flora at that time likely contributed significantly to my susceptibility. My brother at the time of the exposure was completely off sugar. He had noticed that sugar contributed to his issues with acne, and being a 16 year old boy in high school, he wanted to minimize any breakouts. I, on the other hand, was not off sugar. Sugar, in fact, was a big part of my diet. Although this is most certainly just an educated guess on my part, I feel quite certain that my brother’s gut flora was in much better shape than mine when salmonella came to call that day at the chicken drive thru. His gut flora protected him; mine did not.
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