Table of Contents
What is Stomach Flu?
Stomach flu is gastroenteritis. It is inflammation of the stomach and the intestines. The reason for stomach flu is not a respiratory virus. It is not influenza. It is caused by germs present in the gut.
However, gut bacterias, viruses, fungi, or a few parasites are responsible for stomach flu. Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, tiredness, and dehydration. Treatment duration may last for two weeks or more.
Although, a few people also report stomach pain. Small and large intestines are affected. Children develop severe diseases due to rotavirus, while norovirus is the culprit for developing the disease in adults.
Both of these viruses infect the lining of the small intestine. Symptoms of this disease appear after 24-48 hours.
Stomach flu is the most common disease worldwide; almost 20 million people suffer yearly. People with compromised immune systems are prone to develop this disease. Additionally, contaminated water and improperly cooked food are the reasons.
What is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning caused is when someone gets sick from drinking contaminated water or eating spoiled food. It also occurs due to food poisoning by toxic chemicals, germs, or infectious agents.
Food gets contaminated by bacteria or microorganisms that infect the body after eating. Food poisoning is caused by various pathogens, viruses, prions, or parasites contaminating food.
Symptoms of food poisoning are fever, vomiting, stomachache, and may include diarrhea. Pathogens cause food poisoning, and after the incubation of pathogens, symptoms may appear within an hour or may take days, depending on the cause of the infection.
It may take 1-5 days for a full recovery. During food poisoning, stop eating and drinking. Otherwise, diarrhea and other symptoms get worse and cause severe health effects.
It may lead to severe dehydration. Bacterias are the most common cause of food poisoning.
Food poisoning is more common than stomach flu; according to data, almost 48 million people get poisoned yearly.
Difference Between Stomach Flu and Food Poisoning
Stomach flu and food poisoning are almost the same, and it is difficult to differentiate between them. Both cause symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, but the causes of both are different.
Stomach flu is caused by bacteria, viruses, gut germs, and parasites, yet food poisoning is caused by eating spoiled or contaminated food. Various bacteria, viruses, prions, parasites, fungi, etc., cause food contamination.
Some common bacteria like salmonella, escherichia coli, and campylobacter are the main causes of food and water contamination.
However, the symptoms of stomach flu and food poisoning are almost identical. Yet stomach flu symptoms appear in 12-48 hours, while symptoms of food poisoning appear much faster, about 6 hours.
Symptoms of food poisoning appear quickly after exposure and are more severe than a stomach bug.
Comparison Between Stomach Flu and Food Poisoning
|Parameter of Comparison||Stomach Flu||Food Poisoning|
|Definition||Stomach flu is gastroenteritis. It is inflammation of the stomach and the intestines. It is caused by germs present in the gut.||Food poisoning caused is when someone gets sick from drinking contaminated water or eating spoiled food. It also occurs due to food poisoning by toxic chemicals, germs, or infectious agents.|
|Exposure||Symptoms begin to appear in 24-48 hours.||Symptoms quickly appear in 2-6 hours.|
|Fever||Low-grade fever||High-grade fever|
|Stomachache||Dull pain in the stomach.||Sharp and severe pain in the stomach.|
|Bodyache||Body aches are common in stomach flu.||Body aches are less common.|
|Confusion||Uncommon||It is common in severe cases.|
|Thirst||Less common due to mild diarrhea.||More common due to severe diarrhea.|
|Contagious||Yes, it can spread with touch.||It is non contagious.|
|Duration||It disappears in 1-3 days after infection.||It disappears in 1-10 days after infection.|
- Singh, Amandeep (July 2010). “Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice Acute Gastroenteritis — An Update”. Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. 7 (7).
- Ciccarelli, S; Stolfi, I; Caramia, G (29 October 2013). “Management strategies in the treatment of neonatal and pediatric gastroenteritis”. Infection and Drug Resistance. 6: 133–61. doi:10.2147/IDR.S12718. PMC 3815002. PMID 24194646.