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Difference between Stomach Flu and Food Poisoning

Difference between Stomach Flu and Food Poisoning

When you start feeling sick, it can be hard to determine what is wrong. You may think you have the stomach flu, but it could be food poisoning. What are the differences between these two conditions, and how can you tell which one you have? Keep reading to find out.

What is Stomach Flu?

The stomach flu is a general term used to describe a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses. The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The cause of the illness is typically a virus, such as a norovirus, which is highly contagious. The stomach flu is often mistaken for food poisoning, but there are some key differences between the two conditions. For example, food poisoning usually occurs after eating contaminated food, while stomach flu is caused by a virus that can be contracted through close contact with an infected person. Treatment for the stomach flu typically involves rest and hydration. In most cases, the illness will resolve on its own within a few days.

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is the result of eating contaminated food. It can cause an array of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, it can lead to dehydration, organ failure, and even death. Food poisoning occurs when food is contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or toxins. These contaminants can come from a variety of sources, including dirty surfaces, contaminated water, and sick animals. Food poisoning is a serious health concern, and it is estimated that there are 48 million cases in the United States each year. Treatment typically involves drinking plenty of fluids and resting. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary. Prevention is the best way to avoid food poisoning, and good hygiene practices are essential. Food should be cooked thoroughly, and hands should be washed before handling food. Surfaces should be kept clean, and raw meat should be kept separate from other food items. Anyone who suspects they have food poisoning should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Difference between Stomach Flu and Food Poisoning

Though they share some symptoms, there are important ways to tell the difference between stomach flu and food poisoning. Stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Food poisoning, on the other hand, is caused by consuming contaminated food or drink. Both stomach flu and food poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, but only stomach flu is contagious. Other symptoms of stomach flu include fever, body aches, and fatigue. If you suspect you have food poisoning, seek medical attention immediately, as some types of food poisoning can be life-threatening. If you think you have stomach flu, drink plenty of fluids and get rest. Most cases of stomach flu resolve on their own within a few days. a clear way to tell the difference between these two conditions is vital to getting the proper treatment. diarrheal stool in from With either having the common symptom of diarrhea it can be difficult to tell them apart at first.


Although both stomach flu and food poisoning can cause similar symptoms, they are two different conditions. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away to determine the cause: vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and/or abdominal pain. Left untreated, either condition could lead to serious health complications.

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