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 Do You Treat Food Poisoning
If you have food poisoning, staying hydrated is crucial. You are likely losing fluids, so drink lots of water and avoid caffeinated or drinks high in sugar. Sports drinks that contain electrolytes, Pedialyte, and natural fruit juices may help as well. Its also essential that you get enough rest so your body can make a quick recovery. Unfortunately, you just need to let it works its way out of your system.
Getting Over Stomach Viruses & Food Poisoning
The path to feeling better is roughly the same even if stomach viruses are significantly different than food poisoning. As with most illnesses, staying hydrated is key. Since stomach viruses and food poisoning tend to result in your body expelling fluids, youll want to replenish those fluids with water, electrolyte drink, or tea.
Remember to stay away from alcohol and coffee, as these drinks are dehydrating and will keep you passing very watery diarrhea.
When you have a stomach illness, your digestive system tends to be sensitive. That means youll want to eat foods that are bland and easy to digest, and maybe even limit yourself to consuming liquids until you feel that you can handle solid food. Even if you love spicy food, its best to put down that hot sauce as spicy foods can be hard on the stomach while digesting. When in doubt, and looking for tried & true home remedies, you can follow the BRAT diet:
B – Bananas
A – Apples
T – Toast
Other easy-to-digest foods include potatoes, vegetables, and plain yogurt .
When food poisoning is caused by bacteria, sometimes antibiotics are prescribed. Unlike viruses, bacteria can be fought with prescription medication, so be sure to seek medical attention, such as urgent care. If antibiotics are not needed, staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest is usually your best bet to feeling better.
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What Is The Treatment
Some cases of stomach virus and food poisoning may resolve in a few days with simple lifestyle changes and home remedies. If not, it is advised to seek medical attention.
- Adequate rest and drinking plenty of clear liquids, such as water, broths, and juices, to treat and prevent dehydration.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Avoid certain foods like dairy, fatty, high-fiber foods, or highly flavored foods because they are difficult to digest and may worsen diarrhea. Simple food like crackers, toast, eggs, rice, or chicken may be eaten.
- Over-the-counter, antidiarrheal, and anti-vomiting medications: These should not be taken without consulting a doctor. When a person has diarrhea or vomiting, the body is trying to eliminate toxins and harmful bacteria as well. Antidiarrheal medication may stop diarrhea but in turn, will cause a build of toxins and harmful bacteria in the body.
- Over-the-counter medications like paracetamol can be taken for fever and pain.
- Probiotics: These are microorganisms that boost the levels of good bacteria in the intestine and help restore gut health. Probiotics are present in certain brands of yogurt and available as supplements.
If the symptoms do not resolve, the doctor may recommend the following:
How To Diagnose Your Virus
If you visit a doctor to diagnose your virus, youll be asked about your symptoms. The doctor may require a stool test.
Although its possible to identify rotavirus and norovirus there are many other types of flu that such a test wont reveal.
However, its never easy to identify food poisoning. Especially if you dont know the precise cause.
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How Norovirus Is Spread
Norovirus can spread very easily.
You can catch norovirus from:
- close contact with someone with norovirus
- touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them, then touching your mouth
- eating food that’s been prepared or handled by someone with norovirus
Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the best way to stop it spreading. Alcohol hand gels do not kill norovirus.
Does It Matter What Caused My Food Poisoning
It may not actually matter which bacteria or virus has caused your food poisoning since, unless it is very severe, there is not much of a difference in treatment. What is important is knowing what foods and circumstances are more likely to put you at risk for food poisoning so that you can take the appropriate precautions.
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How Do I Know If I Have Food Poisoning Or A Stomach Bug
Theres a lot of overlap between the symptoms of food poisoning and stomach flu, so youand your doctormay need to do a little detective work to try to suss this out. Its extremely hard to tell the difference between the two, Dr. Gorwana says. Mostly, it comes down to the symptoms youre dealing with. Here are a few key areas to consider:
When did your symptoms start and how long are they lasting?
Remember, the stomach flu typically shows up within one to three days after youve been exposed. So, after that, you should start to feel like yourself again, Dr. Adalja says.
If youre dealing with symptoms for a shorter or longer time than a day or two, you may have food poisoning. While norovirus is a common cause of both food poisoning and the stomach flu, so many pathogens can potentially cause food poisoning that it can have a wider time frame than the stomach flu. Symptoms of food poisoning can crop up just a few hours after contamination, or even days or weeks later, and they can typically last from a few hours to several days, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Whats the diarrhea situation looking like?
If you have diarrhea and are brave enough to look into the toilet bowl, take a peek. Its like the poop version of reading tea leaves: If you see blood in your diarrhea, it could be a sign of food poisoning.
Are you projectile vomiting like that girl from The Exorcist?
Is It A Stomach Bug Or Food Poisoning
May 23, 2019
Weve all been there, and its not pleasant: vomiting or a bad case of diarrhea, or both. You ask yourself in moments of misery, Was it something I ate, or did I catch this from someone at work?! Most of the time we self-diagnose: I have the stomach flu! But how can you tell if its viral or food poisoning?
First of all, what we commonly refer to as the stomach flu is actually not the flu at all. A stomach virus is a highly contagious viral infection called gastroenteritis caused by viruses such as Rotavirus and norovirus. That means you caught it from someone else who was sick. Food poisoning can be caused by viruses, but the majority of food-borne illnesses are from bacteria or parasites. Common bacteria that cause food poisoning include E. coli and Salmonella that is found in meat, eggs, produce that is unwashed, raw seafood, or unpasteurized cheeses or drinks.
Treatment and recovery is the same for bothrest, and stay hydrated with water or drinks with electrolytes. Stay away from juice and soda, which can worsen your illness. Once you can keep food down, keep it bland with the tried and true BRAT diet . Antibiotics are rarely used for stomach illnesses.
If its a virus, be sure to wash your hands frequently, and stay home to prevent spreading it to others.
To avoid food poisoning in the future, wash your hands often, cook meat thoroughly, keep your surfaces and utensils clean, throw out expired food and refrigerate perishables.
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What Is The Difference Between How Long The Stomach Flu Vs Food Poisoning Recovery
- The duration of the stomach flu can vary. The symptoms may get better after a few days, but in some cases, a person may be sick with the infection can last for several days, up to 10.
- Food poisoning symptoms usually last anywhere from several hours, a day or two, or up to a several days. The duration of this type of poisoning typically is shorter than the stomach flu.
How To Prevent Stomach Viruses
When it comes to stomach viruses, it pays to be mindful of those who have a stomach bug. Make sure to wash your hands and refrain from touching your eyes, ears, and nose after coming into contact with an infected person.
Also, with viruses, such as Clostridium perfringens and Campylobacter, making sure to thoroughly cook meat and poultry fully can help reduce the chance of viral infections.
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How To Prevent The Risk Of Food Poisoning
Preventing food poisoning is challenging, but you can reduce your risk with the following precautions:
- Keep food refrigerated
- Keep raw food separate from cooked food
- Buy whole cuts of meat instead of processed meat
- Wash fresh produce thoroughly
- Use soap and water to wash your hands before and between food preparation steps
Stomach Flu Vs Food Poisoning Vs Covid
Some stomach flu and food poisoning symptoms overlap with COVID-19 symptoms. But COVID-19 is often accompanied by respiratory problems, like trouble breathing and congestion, as well as severe fatigue, a sore throat, and the loss of taste or smell.
If youre having any symptoms of COVID-19, follow these steps:
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Youve 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 Do You Treat A Stomach Flu
Like treating food poisoning, its important to stay hydrated and get enough rest. If you have contracted the stomach flu, dehydration is a serious concern, so ensure you drink lots of water and electrolyte-filled drinks. Give caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks a miss.
When you feel well enough to start eating again, slowly introduce some of these bland foods into your diet:
- Cereals, whole grains, and bread
- Potatoes and other vegetables
- Fruits like bananas and apples
- Plain yogurt but be wary of too much dairy.
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What Are The Symptoms And Causes Of Food Poisoning
You may be sick with food poisoning but not know what food caused it or even that you have it. Different bacteria and viruses can have different effects:
- Salmonella: gastro and flu-like symptoms can appear between 8 and 72 hours after eating the infected food and last for 2 to 5 days.
- Campylobacter: gastro symptoms appear in 2 to 5 days, and last for 2 to 10 days.
- Listeria: gastro or flu-like symptoms usually appear within 3 weeks, but can take up to 70 days.
- Norovirus or rotavirus: severe gastro or flu-like symptoms usually begin 24 to 48 hours after exposure and last 1 or 2 days or up to 6 days .
- E. coli: gastro symptoms usually appear in 3 to 4 days and last about 1 week.
Food needs to be stored, handled and cooked carefully and at temperatures that avoid the spread and growth of bacteria that can make you sick. Read about preparing food safely.
What You Can Do At Home
When you are sick in bed, you may be wondering how long will this stomach bug last. The good news is that although food poisoning and the stomach flu are rather unpleasant to deal with, a few days of bedrest, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating bland foods should have you back on your feet. The key thing is to avoid dehydration, which can lead to complications. Make sure you drink plenty of water, Gatorade, or another electrolyte solution.
If it is hard for you to keep liquids down, try drinking a few sips every half an hour. Avoid drinking soda or other sugary drinks, as they will not replace the electrolytes that you need. Sucking on ice chips can also keep you hydrated and may feel soothing.
If you are nauseous and vomiting, the thought of food probably doesnt even appeal to you, but once your appetite returns, try to start eating again. This will aid your body in recovery. Pace yourself and dont eat too much too quickly, or you just might find yourself back where you started.
Once you are ready to eat, start with foods on the BRAT diet, which are bland and gentle on your still-fragile system.
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How Can I Tell The Difference
As they make their rounds, stomach viruses are often the topic at school or work. That may be your first clue that youre dealing with viral gastroenteritis rather than food poisoning.
Otherwise, when its a stomach virus, you can expect symptoms such as:
- Watery diarrhea
- Nausea that may or may not be accompanied by vomiting
- Mild fever
- Abdominal pain or cramping
These symptoms typically level off and begin to wane within a day or two, but you may continue to feel less than your best for up to 10 days.
Symptoms of food poisoning are similar but may also include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Fever and chills with temp of 101 F or higher
- Muscle aches and headaches
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
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 â weakness, lightheadedness, decreased urination, dry skin, dry mouth and lack of sweat and tears are characteristic symptoms of dehydration.
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Food Poisoning Vs Stomach Bug How To Tell The Difference
Last reviewed: Medically reviewed
The good news is that treatment is similar for both illnesses. Even if youre not sure which you have, youll usually be able to look after yourself at home.
But understanding how you got ill in the first place may help you make changes to avoid getting sick in the future.
Read on to learn more about the differences between a stomach bug and food poisoning, from causes and symptoms to treatment and prevention.
Glutening Symptoms Stem From Cross
If youâre 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 didnât 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 everyoneâs 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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Is It Stomach Bug Stomach Flu Or Food Poisoning
Your stomach is in knots as another wave of nausea strikes, sending you to the bathroom for the third time in an hour. But whats the cause? Two likely culprits are stomach bug and food poisoning. But how does stomach flu differ from food poisoning? Understanding the difference may lead to feeling better sooner and even prevent the illness from occurring in the first place.
So Whats The Difference
The difference between the two is simple: time. Similar to a cold and flu, the major determining factor in what youve contracted lays in how long you have it. Typically, Food Poisoning will resolve itself within the span of 24 hours. Conversely, a stomach bug will span about 3 to 5 days.
In short, youd be taking more time off of work from a stomach bug than food poisoning.
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