I got food poisoning a couple weeks ago, during an otherwise lovely trip to Portugal. While it's probably pointless to try to figure out how, I do wonder about a bunch of things.
- Generally, how long before food poisoning takes effect? Must the cause have been the same day I got sick? The day before? Within a couple hours? The meal I was eating when I started feeling sick was a hotel buffet. Nobody else got sick.
- I drank local water, because locals do; I drink a lot of water and it's not always easy to buy a new bottle while it is often easy to refill. How likely is it that local water is fine for locals but not for visitors who may not be adapted to the local endemic bacteria? Is it possible that the rainstorms and small floods during my week in Portugal (apparently the only week of rain the whole year) may have worsened the water supply during my visit? I had been drinking local water for a week before I got sick.
- I shared from a plate of steamed clams a day or two before getting sick, and the first one I bit into clearly had ice crystals. How did one "steamed" clam stay half frozen? Did they toss it on at the end? Nobody else who shared the clams got sick.
- I bought some grapes from a small fruit stand. I washed them all and kept them in my hotel room for a few days. I certainly didn't get sick on the first bunch of grapes I ate. Is it possible that I didn't wash them well enough and the bacteria grew over time? How do you wash grapes?