The Big Spoon: Let’s All Wash Our Hands

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Editor's Note: The following is The Big Spoon, an opinion column on San Antonio's food and drink scene.

Five years in as a food and nightlife editor means I’ve heard the following phrase a lot: “Oh, my god, I want your life.”

It’s a weird thing to say to anyone. More often than not, I squirm uncomfortably and try to smile away a response.

That’s not to say I’m not #blessed to eat and drink my way across town. But with that task comes lots of unseen stressors, and one that’s particularly tough to talk about is food poisoning.

Most food writers pride themselves in having an iron stomach, and I used to be one of them. But in the last five years, I’ve had a handful of moments that make me rethink whether I actually do have a steely constitution.

You know the type of moment I’m talking about – the kind that starts as a slow rumble, a light sheen of sweat that develops on your forehead and finally a gurgle audible at times to those around you.

For me, two times have brought me to my knees, quite literally praying to the porcelain gods. In one bout of food poisoning, I woke up at midnight and dealt with seriously violent vomiting until five in the morning. I couldn’t stomach anything the next day. Food, my calling, had betrayed me.

Have you ever vomited Pepto Bismol?

The most recent time I had food poisoning, I woke up at 3 a.m. and the witching hour commenced. I hurled and expelled (in more ways than one) at least 12 hour’s worth of food. I showered and laid down, quivered and moaned from the nausea that rocked my body. This happened several more times throughout the early morning until I finally passed out from exhaustion at 7:30 a.m. I had a fever. I couldn’t keep down liquids. And I definitely wasn’t going to attempt eating.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all vowed to never eat X, Y or Z again. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top germs that cause food poisoning are norovirus, salmonella, campylobacter and staphylococcus auerus; four more (clostridium botulinum, listeria, E. coli and vibrio) can do serious damage and often lead to hospitalization.

But the first tip given to us by the CDC is to wash our hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before, during and after food prep and before eating. Don’t know how long 20 seconds is? Sing the ABCs.

And maybe consider a hand moisturizer to avoid cracked cuticles from all the hand-washing you’re about to do.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.
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