Maintaining Your Health

Differentiating Between Stomach Flu and Food Poisoning

When you have an upset tummy, you have probably wondered whether you have acquired a stomach bug or developed food poisoning. Nonetheless, since the symptoms of these two ailments tend to be very similar, not many people would be able to differentiate between the two. Take note that any persistent symptoms should be looked at by a medical professional at your local health clinic. This article will help you learn the main differences, which can significantly help you in seeking the appropriate course of treatment.

Stomach flu

This type of illness is caused by viruses, most notably rotavirus, and will typically affect the gastrointestinal tract. It should also be noted that stomach viruses tend to be highly contagious, which can translate into your entire household succumbing to the illness in a short duration. Some of the common ways that the stomach flu is spread include:

It is therefore prudent for individuals that are caring for someone convalescing from the stomach flu to be very meticulous with their hygiene, or they could end up contracting the virus too.

Symptoms to look out for would include:

Food poisoning

Food poisoning, on the other hand, is primarily caused by ingesting food that has been contaminated by either parasites or bacteria. This contamination typically occurs when there is the inadequate handling of food items, if food is placed on unclean surfaces, if food is not stored at the right temperature or if you eat food that is past its due date. Since food poisoning is caused by bacterial and parasitic agents, it is not deemed contagious. It is only spread if you and someone else eat the same contaminated food. 

You would be at higher risk of acquiring food poisoning if you eat raw foods, as these tend to have a higher susceptibility to contamination.  Nevertheless, although cooking does kill some types of bacteria in meat, power outages and other causes of intermittent electrical supply could make frozen food go bad without your knowledge.

Symptoms of food poisoning have a short incubation and can manifest in a matter of hours after ingestion. Some of the signs to be on the lookout for if you suspect food poisoning include;

If you're experiencing symptoms and are unsure of what steps you should take to feel better, talk to doctors at local health care clinics.