@postaday 102; #postaday2011
Despite having a great ride in the Haleiwa Metric Century Sunday, and few aches on Monday, John and I both came down with food poisoning within minutes of each other about 5 p.m. Monday evening. And what a rough night it was.
We found out via Twitter about some other people who ate where we ate and got sick, too. And when we got a tweet from @vanryzin suggesting we call the Hawaii state Department of Health, we did. Last night a DOH employee came to our house to drop off a specimen kit, but by then John and I were spent and empty. YUCK. Norovirus. The employee suggested that there are probably more than 200 cases, based on the amount of phone calls they got Monday and Tuesday.
This was the second time John and I ate at a Haleiwa restaurant. The first time we went, the center’s bathrooms were flooded. This time we didn’t need to use the bathroom, but, I would theorize that the facilities are lacking. Employees and patrons use the same restroom facilities. Although one can post signs up about washing hands after using the bathroom, the germ counts have got to be in the eugiekazillions. Who doesn’t pack hand sanitizer in their cars anymore? And ever since I had babies, I’ve always had wipes handy.
Even chronic hand washers like me will get stricken with norovirus if people around us don’t. Really gives me pause about ever eating out again. But I will.
I get email from the Red Hot Ladies, a group of women and friends who ride bicycle here on Oahu. I inquired if any of them had gotten sick after the century ride. Several responded and said they did not. They had eaten the shrimp and kal bi ribs with potato salad plates that were available at the end of the ride. People also ate the bananas, oranges and tangerines, and drank the Heed and the water that was available at rest stops, too. My assumption, then, is that the Hawaii Bicycle League’s food was probably A-OK.
No matter how healthy and strong I was for this ride, I couldn’t beat back this viral bug all that easily. I don’t endorse life in a bubble, but I do think I’ll be more diligent about casing a joint before I eat its fare.
Based on my chat with the Health Department guy, it seems the norovirus outbreak on shore tends to follow the arrival of a cruise ship that has had its own norovirus outbreak. Norovirus has been a problem with nursing homes, which have had to beef up hygiene procedures for workers to stave off outbreaks that are potentially life-threatening for the aged. What do we learn from this experience? Hand-washing (and not re-contaminating by touching surfaces after hand-washing) is big. If a restaurant has marginal restrooms, that’s a flashing red light. We can take our business to a place that takes hygiene seriously. Better still, when we’re back on solid food, we can eat at home. Because the treat of eating out doesn’t feel like such a treat right now.