What Is The Difference Between The Signs And Symptoms Of The Stomach Flu Vs Food Poisoning And When Do They Begin
What are the signs and symptoms of the stomach flu, and when do they begin?
Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis can begin anywhere from 4 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus.
The most common symptoms of this health condition include:
- A general sense of feeling unwell
Vomiting blood or blood in the stool may occur in particularly severe cases. Similar to the stomach flu, symptoms of dehydration as mentioned previously can develop over time if the poisoning symptoms persist. If you are vomiting blood or have blood in your stool see your medical doctor or health care professional immediately.
Tips To Take Care Of Your Stomach
Both the flu and food poisoning are, frankly, awful, but there are some flu and food poisoning remedies that you can use to help treat these illnesses.
Probiotics:;After coming down with a stomach bug, the bacteria in your gut may be compromised or overtaken by bad bacteria. If youre experiencing digestive upset for more than a few days after becoming ill, taking a probiotic can help return your stomach to normal. Look for probiotics that contain a high amount of bacterial strains and colony-forming units . As well, fermented foods and drinks, such as sauerkraut, kombucha, and kefir, can help replenish your gut with good bacteria.
Hydrate:When you have either food poisoning or the flu, nothing is more important than to drink plenty of fluids. Both conditions can cause dehydration as a result of diarrhea or vomiting, so its important to replenish yourself with water, but also with sports drinks such as Gatorade, as they have electrolytes and sugar that can help hydrate your body and restore lost nutrients.
Limit your diet:The flu can cause a lot of digestive problems. If you have a stomach bug, do not eat foods which are known to aggravate indigestion and cause stomach upset, including spicy foods, beans, dairy products, and alcohol.
How To Treat Food Poisoning
You are sick and exhausted; it can be hard to imagine better days. If your child has a batch of food poisoning, you can comfort them and mitigate their symptoms. You can also give your child kids diarrhea medicine if the symptoms are unbearable. There are a few ways to ease your food poisoning symptoms which we highly recommend trying:
- Drinking Fluids
- Your body is very dehydrated if you are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. It is imperative to refuel your water levels to make your symptoms feel more at ease and flush out the toxins you consumed. Drinks with electrolytes are a great fluid to opt for because they help your body stay hydrated longer. Some common fluids with electrolytes are sports drinks and coconut water. The fun flavors also may distract your child from the symptoms they feel.
- Certain over-the-counter medicines may help soothe your nausea. The FDA does not recommend antidiarrheals or bismuth subsalicylate for children. However, you can choose the kids diarrhea medicine version for a proportionate dose that is safe for children to consume.;
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Fellow Diners Are Also Feeling Ill
If you and your friends all ate the same potato salad and are now all doubled up in pain, chances are that food poisoning is to blame.
Healthline advised that the incubation period of most common stomach bugs is between24 and 48 hours. This means that transmitting a virus from person to person would cause each individual to show symptoms at different times. If you and your friends have all fallen in within a few hours of each other, contaminated food is the more likely source.
How To Treat It
You should also seek medical care if you have a fever higher than 101, blood in your stool or vomit, diarrhea lasting longer than 2 days, extreme dehydration, blurred vision, tingling in your arm, or intense abdominal pain or the sensation that your abdomen is sticking out, which could be an appendicitis or hernia.
If youve had food poisoning before and recognize the symptoms, you may also want to consider a virtual doctor visit. Your provider may be able to call in nausea medication to help you manage your recovery.
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So Just What Is The Difference Between Food Poisoning And ‘gastro’
There are many gastroenteritis infections, and many of them can originate from eating food. But classically we tend to group them into ‘like’ versions, and label them simple ‘gastro’ or ‘food poisoning’.
A quick word on food poisoning: Food can lead to illness in many different ways. It can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins. Then there’s chemical contamination, allergies, or simply over eating.
But the classic ‘food poisoning’ relates to toxins. Food becomes contaminated with bacteria usually from the person preparing the food. They may not have worn gloves, washed their hands, or might have used the same knives and chopping boards for meat and salads. If the food is then left out at room temperature, the bacteria bubbles away producing lots of toxins, which spread throughout the food before it is eaten.
Once ingested, this toxin can immediately trigger an effect on us poor unsuspecting patients.
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These bugs cause illness by either producing a toxin in our bodies after they have been ingested, or they literally invade and infect the lining of the bowel.
- Multiple culprits including: S aureus and Bacillus cereus
You’ve Recently Eaten Unpasteurized Cheese Raw Eggs Undercooked Rice Or Raw Fish
Improper food storage or handling can lead to bacterial growth and cross-contamination. This can turn otherwise safe foods into dangerous poisons.
According to the CDC,certain foods are more likely to cause food poisoning. These include raw or undercooked poultry; raw milk; queso fresco and other soft cheeses; raw sprouts; shellfish; undercooked eggs; smoked seafood; and raw fruit juices.
If you start to feel sick after consuming any of these risky foods, food poisoning could be to blame.
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How Soon Can I Eat And Drink After Vomiting And/or Diarrhea
Other than drinking to stay hydrated, there are no hard and fast rules about when and what to eat after food poisoning or stomach bug symptoms have subsided. Its more about what you can tolerate. Every patient reacts differently to foodor to the idea of eating again. Its natural to temporarily lose your appetite when experiencing the stomach flu or food poisoning. Whenever your appetite does return, you can go back to eating, even if you still have diarrhea. Most medical experts do not recommend fasting or following a restricted diet when you have diarrhea. This is to help your body restore its energy and to regain its lost fluids, nutrients and electrolytes. Your gage will be how well you tolerate food.
Glutening Symptoms Stem From Cross
If you’re new to the gluten-free diet, you may initially be surprised at how badly your body reacts to accidental gluten cross-contamination, especially if you didn’t have bad symptoms prior to your diagnosis with celiac disease or non-celiac;gluten sensitivity.
It can be tricky to generalize about what happens when you get glutened;because everyone’s symptoms are a little different. However, given time , you can figure out your usual pattern of symptoms. That can help you differentiate them from symptoms of stomach flu and food poisoning.
Here are some clues:
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When To See A Doctor
It never hurts to check in with your doctor if youre feeling miserable and cant find relief. But the Mayo Clinic says you should definitely call or see your doctor if you have the following symptoms:
Youre not able to keep liquids down for 24 hours
Youve been vomiting for more than two days
You have diarrhea for more than three days
Youre vomiting blood
You have extreme pain or severe stomach cramps
When To Call Your Doctor
Food poisoning and viral gastroenteritis;can become severe enough to require medical attention. However, Dr. Thomas says, in most cases, people can effectively manage either condition with proper rest, hydration and at-home medical treatment. But call your doctor if youre unsure whats causing your symptoms or if youre having high or persistent fevers.
Also keep in mind that other health issues can mimic the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis;or food poisoning. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or if you experience any of the following:
- Bloody stool or bloody vomit
- Inability to keep any fluids down
- Diarrhea lasting more than three days
- Fever above 104 degrees;
- Severe abdominal pain
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How K Health Can Help
In most cases, symptoms for the stomach flu and food poisoning are mild and last only a short time. If you have any other questions about what to eat after food poisoning or stomach flu, speak to a doctor.
Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app? , explore conditions and treatments, and if needed text with a doctor in minutes. K Healths AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.
What To Do If You Have Food Poisoning
If you are vomiting or have diarrhea, the most pressing concern is dehydration. But you may want to avoid food and fluids for a few hours. As soon as you are able, begin taking small sips of water or sucking on ice chips.
Besides water, you may also want to drink a rehydration solution. These solutions help replace electrolytes, which are the minerals in your body fluid that conduct electricity. Theyre necessary for your body to function.
Rehydration solutions are especially helpful for:
- people who have a compromised immune system
- people who have a chronic illness
When you can eat solid food, begin with small amounts of bland foods that include:
You should contact your doctor when you first experience symptoms if you:
- are older than 60 years of age
- are an infant or toddler
- are pregnant
- have a weakened immune system
- have a chronic health condition like diabetes or kidney disease
If youre taking diuretics and develop food poisoning, call your doctor and ask if its safe to stop using them.
In general, you should see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- diarrhea lasting longer than two days, or 24 hours in an infant or child
- signs of dehydration, including extreme thirst, dry mouth, reduced urination, lightheadedness, or weakness
- bloody, black, or pus-filled stool
- bloody vomit
- a fever of 101.5 F or higher in adults, 100.4 F for children
- blurred vision
You can prevent food poisoning in your home by following the basics of food safety:
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Causes Of A Stomach Bug
Womens Health explains that its a bit more complicated than food poisoning being caused by food, as the stomach flu is usually the dirty work of a virus. The fork in the road appears when you start considering how youre exposed to that bacteria or virus, says the source.
Gastroenteritis can be passed on by any type of exposure, such as exposure to infected people, bodily fluids, clothes, surfaces, and food, notes the source. The most common viruses associated with stomach flu are norovirus and rotavirus.
How To Prevent The Risk Of Stomach Flu
You can reduce your risk of contracting a stomach bug by following good hygiene practices, ensuring you thoroughly wash your hands especially if youre sick or have been exposed to sick people. Chat to your doctor about the vaccine for rotavirus if you are considering something more.
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How Do You Get Food Poisoning Vs Stomach Flu
Viruses are the most frequent cause of food poisoning in the U.S. The next highest causes are bacteria. Other causes include chemicals, parasites, toxins, and bacteria.
Foods most commonly associated with food poisoning include:
Symptoms of food poisoning sometimes depend on which organ system the poison effects; for example, the neurological system may be altered by neurotoxins like pesticides and botulinum toxin.When a group of individuals experiences similar symptoms after eating or drinking similar foods, food poisoning may be suspected.
Stomach Flu Symptoms and Signs
By definition, gastroenteritis affects both the stomach and the intestines, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms and signs include:
- Low grade fever, usually less than 100 F
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Mild-to-moderate diarrhea
- Crampy painful abdominal bloating
More serious signs and symptoms of stomach flu
- Blood in vomit or stool
- Vomiting more than 48 hours
- Fever higher than 101 F
- Swollen abdomen
- Increasingly severe abdominal pain
- Dehydration – weakness, lightheadedness, decreased urination, dry skin, dry mouth and lack of sweat and tears are characteristic symptoms of dehydration.
Do You Have Other Symptoms Besides Gi Issues
Again,;ongoing diarrhea attacks and a;vomit-thon are the main signs. But stomach-flu sufferers can also have “additional extra-intestinal symptoms, or things that happen outside of your GI tract, says Dr. Sonpal. These can be signs of dehydration like headache, lightheadedness and dry mouth.
People with food poisoning can also experience non-stomach related signs. Depending on the germ youve regrettably swallowed, you could also have flu-like symptoms , increased gas, and in rare cases much scarier symptoms such as slurred speech, drooping eyelids, or a loss of balance, according to the Centers for Disease Control . Weakness, body aches, or even a rash are also possible signs, says , a board-certified family and ER doctor in New York City.
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How Can You Prevent Food Poisoning
Once youre done puking, youll probably want to avoid the experience again. Being on top of your hygiene is the first step. That means washing your hands well, especially around food, and if you have kids, making sure theyre washing their hands well too. Here are a few other precautions you can take to prevent food poisoning, according to FoodSafety.gov:
Keep raw and ready-to-eat food separate
Cook foods to the recommended temperatures
Refrigerate or freeze food within one to two hours of cooking or buying it
Avoid thawing food at room temperature
Throw out any food youre not sure about. If youre even a bit hesitant, research the shelf life of that food so you know when its no longer good. Avoid just reheating leftovers repeatedlythat doesnt extend their shelf life
Give It A Day Or Two And Then Call Us
Regardless of whether you have food poisoning or you picked up a stomach bug, you should visit 1st Choice Urgent Care if your symptoms last more than two days. Trying to tough it out much longer likely means youll just feel sick that much longer. You could also put yourself at risk of developing other health problems.
Our urgent care center is open every day between 8am and 9pm You can alsorequest an appointment with one of our doctors. Come see us so we can put you back on the path to wellness.
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Your Symptoms Come On Quickly
Food poisoning and stomach virus share many symptoms. In addition to stomach distress, you may have a fever, feel weak, or break out in cold sweats. The similarities make it very hard for most people to tell the difference.
Although the two ailments feel similar, symptoms usually come on more quickly when you have food poisoning. Bacteria and parasites can make you feel bad within just two hours of eating tainted food. Viruses, however, usually take 24 to 48 hours.
As a virus attacks your system, youll start to notice small symptoms. Maybe your stomach feels a little upset or you dont have as much energy as usual. Over the next day or two, the symptoms will become more intense.
Although food poisoning and stomach flu share a lot of symptoms, food poisoning has a longer list of symptoms than the stomach flu. You probably have food poisoning if you feel thirsty, have difficulty breathing, sweat a lot, or your eyes swell.
How To Diagnose Gastro Or Food Poisoning
- Doctors will take a detailed history and conduct a thorough examination.
- Tests are not required for the vast majority of cases. But if symptoms persist they may ask you to send some stool samples off for testing.
- Circumstances are usually classic with this one
- Small clusters of people are often affected. For example, whoever ate one particular dish at the restaurant.
- Tests are next to useless, so doctors rely on a good history and examination.
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