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Stomach Virus Symptoms: Food Poisoning or a Stomach Bug?

Updated on January 23, 2018
Understand your stomach virus symptoms for proper treatment.
Understand your stomach virus symptoms for proper treatment.

Most people find it quite difficult to distinguish between whether or not they have food poisoning or a stomach bug. This is because the two conditions have very similar symptoms. Regardless of the condition, you should take the necessary precautions since they both can be very serious health concerns if not handled with proper care.

This article will briefly outline the main differences between food poisoning and a stomach bug. Moreover, it will also highlight some things you can do to alleviate the problems that you are having with your belly.

Food Poisoning Stomach Virus Symptoms

Food poisoning occurs when someone has eaten contaminated food caused by bacteria. You will definitely know when it hits you because you will feel several adverse side-effects.

Generally, two to three hours after consuming the contaminated food, you will start to feel sick to your stomach. You will also likely start to feel nauseous, have headaches, feel the urge to vomit and quite possibly get diarrhea. Unfortunately, diarrhea is a common problem with many stomach ailments.

As a result of all of these issues, food poisoning can be just as taxing on your system as a stomach bug.

Food poisoning is more likely to come from chicken or meat products.
Food poisoning is more likely to come from chicken or meat products. | Source

Flu Bug Stomach Virus Symptoms

A stomach bug has very similar symptoms to food poisoning. It can drain you of all your energy in much the same way. For instance, it will almost feel like you have a bad fever or flu-like symptoms.

The technical term for the stomach bug is “gastroenteritis” and it is caused by viruses that infect your intestinal tract. Just like food poisoning, you will generally feel like you have a fever or even dizzy because of all the fluids lost in your body from the diarrhea.

Gastroenteritis is usually not as serious as food poisoning since food poisoning can sometimes stay in your system longer and you need to take more precautions with it.

Regardless of what condition you have, it’s important to consult with your doctor. You want to make sure that you are treating the right problem.

So is it food poisoning or a stomach bug?

Since the two conditions show such similar stomach virus symptoms, the only real way to tell which one you’ve contracted is by checking with people who ate the same meal as you on the day you started feeling sick.

If you ate alone, then you may never really know. However, if the person you ate a meal with is also feeling sick then there is a high probability that both of you have food poisoning.

To know for sure, you could get your stool tested for contamination. Though, your doctor probably won’t advise for the test unless you specifically request it or if your condition is very serious.

Consult your doctor for proper treatment for food poisoning and stomach bug issues.
Consult your doctor for proper treatment for food poisoning and stomach bug issues. | Source

Food Poisoning and Stomach Bug Treatment

The best remedy for both conditions is to get plenty of rest and keep your body hydrated. Your main concern is to make sure that you maintain proper fluid levels in your body.

Drink plenty of water, tea and soup.

Furthermore, always stick to eating healthy food. Stick to eating natural whole foods that are nourishing. Eating fruits and vegetables that won't upset your stomach any further is a wise strategy. Fast food and processed foods are best to be avoided. Also, try to resist any sugar cravings if you have any.

In addition, you should try to track back your steps and remember the recent meals that you ate. If it is food poisoning, perhaps you can pinpoint what caused the stomach problem. Definitely stay away from food that you think may have made you sick in the first place.

Lastly, if possible, take a few sick days off work and give your body time to recover properly. You will function better when you are back to being 100% healthy.

In sum, whether you think it’s food poisoning or a stomach bug, take necessary precautions and be sure to consult with your physician to diagnose your stomach virus symptoms for proper treatment.

Video: Watch how to treat food poisoning

Have you ever had food poisoning or a stomach bug?

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting info since I did not know the difference. You have a very relaxed way of writing; in other words a good voice that will only improve with time. Welcome to HubPages and best of luck to you.

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