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Food Poisoning vs Stomach Bug

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Food Poisoning vs Stomach Bug

What is the Stomach Bug? 

A stomach bug, or stomach flu, is caused by a virus that infects the intestines and causes diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and stomachaches. The stomach flu is spread through direct contact with an infected person and is highly contagious. Most instances of the stomach flu last for one or two days before symptoms end and the virus leaves the body, although the person may still be contagious up to two weeks after infection. 

Stomach flu symptoms are like food poisoning, and it may be hard to distinguish between the two conditions. However, the few distinguishing signs of the stomach flu include muscle aches, joint aches and weight loss. 

The best treatment for any illness that causes diarrhea and vomiting is increasing fluid intake to avoid dehydration. It is also essential to reintroduce the body to bland and easy foods to avoid upsetting the stomach. Plenty of rest can also help the body recover. 

What is Food Poisoning? 

Like the stomach flu, food poisoning has some of the same symptoms, but the underlying causes are different. 

Food Poisoning happens when someone ingests food or drink infected with bacteria, viruses or parasites. Food stored improperly or undercooked allows bacteria to infest and grow on the item, ultimately contaminating it. When someone ingests the bacteria, it can cause illness and unpleasant symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Food poisoning symptoms appear faster than the stomach flu and happen quickly after eating contaminated food. 

While you can often treat food poisoning at home like the stomach flu, there are signs that the issue is more severe and requires medical attention. If an infant, child, pregnant or elderly show signs of food poisoning, seek medical attention, especially if they persist. If there are more significant symptoms, like botulism in infants, medical attention is required. 

Severe food poisoning symptoms may develop faster than the stomach flu. Visit a doctor if your symptoms include: 

  • Bloody stool or vomit 

  • Severe abdominal cramping 

  • Shock 

  • Loss of consciousness 

Most cases of food poisoning are treatable at home by increasing fluid intake, resting and avoiding foods that may be harsh on the stomach. There are over 250 kinds of germs that can cause food poisoning. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics or probiotics in some instances. Severe cases of food poisoning are life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.  

If you feel your condition is a true emergency, call 911 immediately. If you're experiencing extreme pain or food poisoning, seek medical attention and visit Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care

Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care

Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care's emergency room is open 24/7, and urgent care is available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. Appointments are unnecessary - walk in, and our healthcare professionals are ready to help at both of our locations.

Navarre - 8888 Navarre Pkwy., Navarre, FL 32566. Call the center at 850-750-5698.

Nine Mile - 9400 University Parkway Suite 101A Pensacola, FL 32514. Call the center at 448-227-4600.

Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care is comprised of board-certified ER-trained physicians and professionally trained ER nurses who deliver quality medical care. Our urgent care and emergency room can effectively treat various medical conditions. From fever to fractures, allergies to abdominal pain, and colds to concussions, we have you covered with on-site labs, CT, X-rays, and ultrasound.