There are several different types of gastrointestinal infections, each with different incubation periods. Some are caused by viruses, some by bacteria (e.g. on contaminated or bad food).
Let us start with the usual viruses that cause gastrointestinal infections:
– They can survive outside the human body for several weeks on surfaces and in liquids. The incubation period is 1-3 days. 8-10 virus particles are sufficient to trigger an infection. A (confirmed) infection is notifiable, there is no antiviral therapy. In plain language: If you are not hygienic, you get infected extremely quickly and once infected, you can only sit it out and drink water, sleep and hold out.
– they are also highly infectious, due to microscopic faecal particles, e.g. by not washing your hands with soap after going to the toilet but only with water, or by using the bathtub together and not cleaning it between baths. The incubation period is often only a few hours. The infection usually catches you unexpectedly and manifests itself in severe diarrhea with vomiting, which lasts only a short time. Once I woke up in the middle of the night with severe nausea, was then about 3 hours
and then I felt like nothing happened at all.
Then there’s the bacterial infections:
– nasty, nasty, nasty fucking things. Once, in college, I bought a baguette from the school cafe. With turkey breast, salad, boiled egg and tartar sauce. Yeah, I know. It was grossly negligent, especially since it was the height of summer. But with appropriate care the following could have been avoided. What I didn’t know at that time: Hygienically speaking, the school café was not very far ahead either, a short time later the health department closed the shop. So I ate the baguette and the next day I got diarrhea and high fever. I lay in bed for two weeks, everything I ate (salt sticks, coke and water) left my body almost immediately. When I was not on the way to the toilet or back, I was sleeping. I dissociated, had fever dreams, which I still remember to this day. I never felt so dirty again in my life. Salmonellae are really everywhere, a certain number can be well tolerated by a healthy person with a functioning immune system. Every egg, every piece of meat, every salad has a certain amount of salmonella. These multiply quickly, for example, if raw poultry meat is left freshly slaughtered at room temperature, the salmonellae multiply exponentially. After 20 minutes the number has doubled, after 40 minutes it has increased eightfold
. When I think that I must have consumed a considerable amount of salmonella with this baguette, healthy and at a young age, I am still surprised that this did not affect my taste. Not at all – the baguette was actually quite excellent. Disturbing.
health authorities test for E-coli strains whenever inspections of food processing plants are carried out. Some of these bacteria occur in the human intestine as part of a healthy intestinal flora. They are harmless and useful. However, there are also E-coli strains that are not so useful:
EPEC, ETEC, EIEC
can cause serious infections. They produce verotoxins, toxic waste products that cause illness.
you know when you have had travel diarrhoea because you have drunk tap water in holiday countries where you should not have drunk it
. The list of countries is surprisingly long, far too long to write it here. Not everywhere tap water is drinkable without problems, as in Germany. In all African, Asian (with the exception of Japan) and (to my surprise!) European countries (Cyprus, Bulgaria or Latvia) you should not drink tap water without boiling it or disinfecting it chemically.
(raw milk, raw ground pork, sprouts) also occurs in this country occasionally, if the health authority has not looked so well. Triggers acute watery diarrhoea and can also lead to acute kidney failure, especially in elderly people. The incubation period is a few hours to about 2 days. Antibiotics are of no use then, at most the effects can be alleviated. Also
Gastrointestinal system sucks, literally. Not much you can do about it. Just wait and see, take it easy and hope it’s over quickly.