Food Poisoning vs Stomach Flu

Food Poisoning vs Stomach Flu

Stomach problems such as vomiting and diarrhea are never fun. They are caused by a number of different problems, including food poisoning and the stomach flu. Both are very similar illnesses with only small differences. Here is a break down on what causes and how to treat each one.

Food Poisoning Facts

1. How It Happens
Food poisoning, also known as food born illness, is when someone consumes food that has been contaminated with certain bacteria. There are numerous ways that this contamination can occur, in proper handing or preparation of the food is the number one way. If someone does not wash their hands thoroughly after using the restroom and then prepares food contamination can occur and food poisoning may be the result. Foods that have not be stored at the correct temperature can also harbor these illness inducing bacteria. Under cooking meat or eggs can also cause food poisoning. Water sources can also become contaminated by human or animal waste and if used or drank can also induce a food born illness.

2. Bacteria
There are multiple different types of organisms and bacteria that are responsible for food poisoning. The type that is contracted depends largely on what item was contaminated and how it got that way. Some of the most common forms of food born illnesses are caused by salmonella, campylobacter, E. Coli. Clostridium perfringens, staphylococcus aureus, cholera, and shigella.

3. Symptoms
Symptoms of food poisoning typically begin within hours of eating the food, but can depend on the specific cause. Food poisoning symptoms can last a few hours all the way up to weeks. Nausea and vomiting, fever, severe diarrhea, and abdominal cramps are all indicators of food poisoning. Seek immediate medical care if you have blood in your vomit or stool, a fever exceeding 101.0 F, or severe pain in the abdomen.

4. Treatment
Majority of cases of food poisoning clear up on their own within a few days, treatment is focused on easing the symptoms. Getting the proper amount of fluid in the body is essential when you are suffering from a food born illness. The vomiting and diarrhea cause dehydration rather quickly, so drinking lots of water or oral rehydration mixtures are vital. Getting plenty of rest is also very important. Antibiotics are typically not prescribed for food poisoning.

5. How To Avoid
Food poisoning is a very disruptive and uncomfortable experience, so learning some simple ways you can help avoid this illness is beneficial. Simply hygiene is first and foremost on the list of prevention. Make sure to wash your hands often. Knowing where your food comes from is another important thing to do. If going to a restaurant this can be a bit more tricky. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, look up reviews, and use your eyes when dining out. If an establishment doesn’t look clean up from, it most likely isn’t in back either. Another way to help avoid food poisoning is the know the proper way to handle, prepare, and store foods.

All About The Stomach Flu

1. Not Really The Flu
One common misconception about the stomach flu is that it is in some way related to a seasonal flu, which is entirely untrue. The stomach flu is actually called gastroenteritis, which is an infection of the intestines and stomach. This infection can by caused by many different viruses, such as, rotaviruses or adenoviruses. The traditional flu will very rarely cause any form of stomach problems.

2. Symptoms
The most common and prevalent symptoms in a stomach flu are vomiting and diarrhea but there a few others to keep an eye out for. A low grade fever, bloating, abdominal cramps, dehydration, and weakness can all be attributed to a stomach flu. Some serious symptoms include a high fever, decreased urination, dry skin, swollen abdomen, and blood in vomit or stool are all signs that you should seek medical care.

3. Treatment
The biggest concern when it comes to gastroenteritis is dehydration, it is key to drink lots and lots of fluid. There are also a number of self care and home remedies that you can try to ease your symptoms. Medical treatment is usually not needed or available unless a person becomes severely dehydrated, at which point IV fluids may be necessary.

Differences Between Food Poisoning and Stomach Flu

1. How It’s Spread
Food poisoning is technically “contagious” but not in the traditional sense of the world. Food poisoning is spread by the consumption of the same contaminated food by multiple people, not by a person with food poisoning them self. While the stomach flu is highly contagious and can be spread for multiple days by sharing food or drink with someone with the stomach flu, touching surfaces that have the virus on it, or having direct contact with someone with the stomach flu.

2. Length
The average length that each of these issues can persist also vary. A stomach flu is typically flushed out of your system between 5 and 10 days. Food poisoning on the other hand usually only lasts from 12 hours to 3 days.

3. Cause
Food poisoning is caused by food born bacteria, even though there are multiple types they all begin the same way, food. The stomach flu is caused by viruses. Though the symptoms are very similar. Neither food poisoning nor the stomach flu are very serious, except in vary rare cases, and clear up on their own with little to no medical treatment.

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