Quick & Simple Ways to Tell if It’s a Stomach Bug or Food Poisoning



Have you ever had a bad stomach and wondered if it is a bug or food poisoning? This is actually a very common problem, seeing as the two have very similar symptoms.

How can you tell the two apart? Here are a couple of things you should know about the stomach bug and food poisoning.

Stomach Bug

What it is: The stomach bug in medical terms is called viral gastroenteritis. This is when your stomach and intestines become inflamed. This may be caused by viruses such as norovirus, rotavirus, and adenovirus. It is very contagious, and the most common way to catch it is through contact with someone who already has it.

Symptoms: After being exposed to a virus, symptoms may start to appear after 24 to 48 hours. Symptoms include fever, nausea, diarrhea, stomach or intestinal cramps, constipation, weight loss, and joint stiffness.

You are likely to feel better in a couple of days. However, there are those that experience symptoms for a week or longer.

Treatment: Drink plenty of fluids in order to avoid dehydration. Drink electrolyte-rich drinks as well. Once you are ready for solid foods, Introduce bland foods such as bread, whole grains, and vegetables. Do not ingest dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. Antibiotics will not work because of its viral nature.

Prevention: In order to prevent contracting the stomach bug, always keep your hands clean. This is especially true if you have been around a sick person. There are also vaccines that can help you from catching it.

In the event that you do get the bug, just stay at home so that other people will not get ill.

Food poisoning

What it is: Food poisoning is ingesting food that may have been contaminated by infectious organisms such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites. People typically get this from raw, undercooked, or unclean food.

Symptoms: Getting food poisoning is way more common than getting a bug. Expect to see symptoms 2 to 6 hours after eating food that has been contaminated. The symptoms may include one or more of the following: muscle aches, fever, eye swelling, headache, diarrhea, general malaise, fatigue, sweating, thirst, and difficulty breathing.

Typically, you will not be experiencing these symptoms for longer than two days.

Treating: Especially if you are undergoing persistent diarrhea, keep yourself hydrated. Rest well and ask your physician at UrgentMed what course of action to take.

Prevention: In order to keep yourself from experiencing food poisoning, always keep your food and equipment clean. Cook your meats and other food fully. Immediately refrigerate perishable foods, and no longer eat those that may already be rotten.

The symptoms of stomach bug and food poisoning may be identical. However, it is important to tell what you have in order for you to be able to treat your sickness properly.

If you start experiencing symptoms for long amounts of time, or more intensely, consult your UrgentMed doctor immediately.