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Everyone has a dreadful stomach-related story; whether it is stomach flu or food poisoning, that feeling of nausea and discomfort is not something you would want to go through again. While both have similar effects on the human body, understanding their differences is crucial for a speedy recovery and preventing their occurrence in the first place.

What Is Stomach Flu?

It is often referred to as a condition known as gastroenteritis and can be a result of either viruses or bacteria transmitting from one person to another. The most common culprit is norovirus, and their spread is usually through coughing or physical contact with an infected person. Sometimes the words “stomach flu” may be misleading as people might think of the influenza virus.

What Does It Mean To Have Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is a consequence of consuming contaminated food or water, which is usually unsanitary due to the presence of bacteria, viruses, toxins, or even parasites. Bacteria, such as salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli, are common culprits. On the other hand, parasitic infections like Cyclosporine may also cause this issue.

Strange but true, some of the organisms that cause food poisoning can also easily spread from one person to another, similar to normal infections.

The main difference between stomach flu and food poisoning is that the latter needs food or water as a carrier for the germs, while norovirus spreads like regular viruses.

Stomach Flu vs. Food Poisoning

While both conditions share some common symptoms, there are variations that can help distinguish one from the other.

Stomach Flu Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Frequent muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Headaches
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness

Food Poisoning Symptoms

  • Intestinal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills and muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Excessive Thirst

When to Seek Medical Attention?

Usually, both the conditions – stomach flu and food poisoning do not need medical intervention if there are no severe complications acting up. However, in some circumstances, they may lead to serious events requiring urgent care. Some of the complications that you should look out for include dehydration, kidney failure, sepsis, and blood loss.

You must note that there are certain groups of people at higher risk for severe effects from gastroenteritis or food poisoning. These include:

  1. Individuals who are immunocompromised
  2. Babies
  3. Elderly (over 50-60)
  4. Pregnant women

Ask for immediate attention if you find yourself fitting in any of the categories:

  1. In case you have significant abdominal pain that feels worse than cramping.
  2. Frequent bowel movements may be presented with blood.
  3. Inability to contain even small sips of fluids.
  4. The signs of distress do not get better even after 7 days.
  5. Feeling dizzy or extremely weak.

Closing Note

Get in touch with your healthcare professional if the pain in your stomach is getting worse. Do not hesitate to contact professionals from Family Diagnostic Clinic for your issue. We can surely help you out. Dial (281) 351-6800 to set an appointment.

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