When To Go To Urgent Care For Food Poisoning Vs Er
Most of the time, it’s fine to pick urgent care if you want an opinion after coming down with food poisoning or a stomach bug. As long as youre not in potentially life-threatening danger, urgent care providers will be able to offer the medical opinion you need.
That said, if it does seem serious, a trip to the ER may be in order. So, how do you know if food poisoning or a stomach virus is bad enough to warrant a hospital visit? If you’re experiencing one of the symptoms below, seek medical emergency attention immediately:
- Blood in stool or vomit
- Green or yellow colored vomit
- Fever above 101°F
- Severe and/or constant pain in the abdomen
- Passing out
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
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
Food Poisoning Vs A Stomach Bug: How To Tell Them Apart
When trying to figure out if you are suffering from food poisoning or a stomach bug, there are some key things which can help you quickly pinpoint the culprit.
Onset:Food poisoning has a more rapid onset. If you eat contaminated food, you can become sick in as little as an hour or two. If you go out to a restaurant and are throwing up a few hours later, then its more likely that you have food poisoning.
Abdominal pains:Both food poisoning and stomach bugs can cause abdominal pains, but they are usually more severe with food poisoning. With a virus, you may have a dull ache in your stomach, but you probably wont get the sharp, stabbing pains that often come with food poisoning.
Family sickness:If your entire family comes down with a sickness at the same time, then its likely from something you all ate. Viruses, on the other hand, often spread from person to person, which means you will have different onsets of sickness than with food poisoning.
Duration:Both sicknesses can last up to 10 days, but food poisoning is more likely to clear up in a very short amount of time. If you feel better after a few hours or a after a nights sleep, theres a good chance it was a stomach bug.
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What Is A Stomach Bug
Stomach bug is actually a nonspecific term we use to refer to any sort of condition involving vomiting or nausea. In reality, the stomach bug were dealing with is a common infection called Gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis involves the inflammation and irritation of the stomach and intestines, which causes its tell-tale symptoms.
Symptoms of Gastroenteritis include:
When suffering from a Stomach Bug, its common to find yourself dehydrated. As you can guess, this is due to the amount of purging your body is doing to fight the virus. If you experience symptoms of dehydration such as dry mouth, extreme thirst, lightheadedness, or dry skin, we advise you call a doctor or visit DOCS Urgent Care of Fairfield, Norwalk, or Bridgeport for immediate attention.
Immediate Action Required: Call 999 Or Go To A& e If You Or Your Child:
- vomit blood or have vomit that looks like ground coffee
- have green or yellow-green vomit
- might have swallowed something poisonous
- have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights
- have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache
- Severe pain:
- always there and so bad it’s hard to think or talk
- you cannot sleep
- it’s very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
- Moderate pain:
- makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
- you can manage to get up, wash or dress
- Mild pain:
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Stomach Flu: Causes And Symptoms
The stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, is an intestinal infection that can be contracted from an infected person or by consuming contaminated food or water.
Its important to understand that the stomach flu and the flu virus arent actually related. The two main viruses that can cause the stomach flu are noroviruses, which can be transmitted though food, water, or person-to-person contact, and rotaviruses, which are more common among children. Both types can be present in the body before symptoms appear and remain until days or weeks after symptoms have improved.
Stomach flu symptoms can begin to appear between 24 and 48 hours after exposure and can include:
- Abdominal cramps
While most healthy people can recover from the stomach flu without lasting effects, those with weakened immune systems, including infants and senior citizens, can develop life-threatening issues that require medical attention.
Stomach Bug Vs Food Poisoning
We all know the horror of food poisoning: what looks like a delicious meal ends up sending you straight to bed for a day. Just the same, shaking the wrong hand can knock you down for a week with a stomach bug. But whats the difference between the two? The answer seems pretty obvious, given their names but when youre bedridden and fighting waves of nausea, it can be hard to tell what your body is fighting.
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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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Stomach Flu And Food Poisoning Defined
Stomach flu and stomach bug are informal terms for viral gastroenteritis, a sickness in which a viral infection causes inflammation in the stomach and intestines. The term stomach flu can be misleading, says UH internal medicine specialist Christopher Thomas, DO, because the illness in not caused by influenza, which attacks the respiratory system.
Though it shares a number of symptoms with viral gastroenteritis, food poisoning is a condition caused by the consumption of contaminated food or water. In fact, food poisoning is an umbrella term for any of the more than 250 foodborne/waterborne illnesses researchers have identified to date.
Technically You Could Have Both
As if it werent hard enough to differentiate the two, SELF magazine points out that it is possible that someone could have both the stomach flu and food poisoning at the same time. Although it is extremely rare. Technically a person could pick up viral gastroenteritis after having a norovirus contaminated meal. Is it food poisoning or the stomach flu? Theres not really a clear line you can draw, says Dr. Adalja to SELF magazine.
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.
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Stomach Flu Or Food Poisoning How To Tell The Difference
Upset stomach? It could have been that off-tasting salador it could have been a bug you caught at work. Stomach flu and food poisoning can have similar symptoms, but knowing the difference can help you determine how you got sick and if youre contagious.
Board-certified physician Dr. Mitchell Forman explains stomach flu, food poisoning, and how to start feeling better no matter what you have.
What Are Stomach Flu Symptoms
One big way to tell the difference between stomach flu and food poisoning is the onset of symptoms. Unlike food poisoning, stomach flu symptoms may take a day or two to come on and build up over time. These symptoms include:
- Watery diarrhea
- General malaise
Some less common symptoms include blurry or double vision, muscle aches, bloody diarrhea, constipation, shock, or even loss of consciousness.
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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.
The Telltale Symptoms Of The Stomach Flu
Symptoms of the stomach flu often mimic those of food poisoning, with fatigue, muscle aches and pains, chills, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and high fever. However, the stomach flu is most often caused by a virus entering in the digestive tract rather than from consuming bad food or water.
A prime differentiator between stomach flu and food poisoning is symptom presentation. For exmaple, stomach flu symptoms start a few days following exposure to the virus and typically last 2- to 10-days. Symptoms of food poisoning, however, flare up within hours of eating contaminated food with vomiting and nausea lasting 1- to 10-days, until the body rids the food bacteria completely from your system.
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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.
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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What To Eat After Food Poisoning
There are certain foods that you should avoid if you are sick with food poisoning. You want to eat foods that will make your stool firmer, and your body calm if youre wondering what to eat after food poisoning.
- The BRAT diet
- If youre wondering what to eat after food poisoning, this tip is for you. The BRAT diet is not for misbehaving children. It is a diet that is great for a sensitive stomach. Certain foods are lighter on your stomach and easier for your body to digest. The diet consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. The low-fat diet makes your stool more firm, so eating like this will decrease the likelihood of diarrhea. You can include broth in this diet as well. But even if you decide not to follow this diet, try to eat smaller portions with a low-fat content until you or your child feels better.
- Mint or Ginger Tea
- Both mint and ginger flavors aid in soothing an upset stomach because of their unique properties. A few small ginger snap cookies might be the perfect combo for your hot tea. Ginger can help you feel less nauseous, and mint is known to soothe the gut. The warm herbal water is also calming, which can help relax the body while you or your child is sick.
How Is Gastroenteritis Treated
Unfortunately, a viral strain of Gastroenteritis cannot be treated with common antibiotics. In the case of a viral infection, the sickness will typically pass within 10 days without medication. To help your body fight the virus:
Drink lots of fluids. The biggests danger of Gastroenteritis is dehydration. While vomiting and suffering from diarrhea, your body is disposing of fluids more frequently than it can take them in. The most important thing you can do to prevent dehydration isas the name implieshydrate. Drinking water is good but, however, will not supply your body the electrolytes it needs. To best hydrate, it is best to drink
electrolyte solutions . These can be purchased at your local pharmacy. Pedialyte, Gatorade, or other common sports drinks are cost-effective alternatives.
Avoid acidic drinks and milk. Milk is known to exacerbate stomach problems, and acidic drinks such as orange juice or coffee can cause stomach aches.
Dont drink too fast. Every hear of the saying too much of a good thing? When suffering from Gastroenteritis, drinking too much water can actually induce vomiting, as the body may reject too much liquid at a given time. For children, we recommend a teaspoon of your chosen beverage every 4 to 5 minutes. Or, advise them to take small sips over time.
Avoid fatty foods. Foods with too much fat, acid, spice, or fried foods are known to exacerbate symptoms.
How do I prevent Gastroenteritis?
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Causes Of Food Poisoning
Going off what we just talked about, the exposure for food poisoning is through the consumption of food, but there are also different types of food poisoning, some are specific to certain types of food. Food poisoning happens when you ingest a food-borne pathogen, and gastroenteritis happens as a result of any type of exposure usually from person to person such as exposure to infected people, bodily fluids, clothes, surfaces, as well as food, says Ketan Shah, MD, gastroenterologist at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, CA to Womens Health. The most common pathogens in food poisoning are Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. The most common pathogens in gastroenteritis are viruses, especially norovirus.
The best way to determine whether its food poisoning or the stomach flu is to retrace your steps and consider whether you came into contact with someone that was sick or have been in contact with a germy surface such as a public transit pole or high traffic door handle and then not washed your hands. If so, it could be a stomach bug. If not, consider what youve eaten in the past 24-hoursanything suspicious?
Stomach Flu Vs Food Poisoning: Which One Is It
- Lauren Stuttaford
Summer is usually the time when youre socializing with loved ones, enjoying poolside meals, or even picnicking in the park. During the merrymaking, we often forget about a serious concern food poisoning. Or could it actually be stomach flu? Here is everything you need to know about stomach flu vs food poisoning.
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Treating A Stomach Bug
Dehydration may become a serious concern for people who have the stomach virus. Watch for the symptoms of dehydration. You should seek medical attention if any of these symptoms occur.
Make sure you get plenty of fluids. Adults can drink fluids such as Gatorade with electrolytes, and children can also drink fluid replacement solutions such as Pedialyte. These drinks coupled with water will help restore the bodys hydration balance. For best results, drink a few sips every half hour to an hour.
Dont drink sugary drinks like Kool-Aid or sodas, as these liquids dont replace lost electrolytes. Taking in ice chips or drinking plain water is another good option for staying hydrated.
- symptoms of dehydration, including fatigue and extreme thirst
- symptoms of botulism
- symptoms of food poisoning after visiting a developing country
If you have a mild case of food poisoning, it may respond well to rest and fever-reducing medications. If you have a severe case, you may need to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous fluid hydration. If you have severe bacterial food poisoning, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
Your doctor will review your symptoms and run tests to determine the best course of action.
Stomach Flu Vs Food Poisoning: Whats The Difference
Viral stomach bugs and bad cases of food poisoning can have similar gastrointestinal symptomsbut there are some key differences between the two.
- Viral gastroenteritis is caused by a virus passed from person to person. Even though its called a flu, its not caused by the same influenza viruses we get flu shots for. There are also other kinds of gastroenteritis caused by parasites and bacteria.
- Foodborne illness is caused by eating food thats contaminated with bacteria, parasites, or a virus. Food can become contaminated when its not cooked correctly or handled safely.
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