Stomach Bug or Food Poisoning: Learn the Differences

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: July 29, 2022

Stomach Bug or Food Poisoning: Learn the Differences

Let's learn about Food Poisoning and a Stomach Bug with this article. Also, understand how Food Poisoning is different from the Stomach Bug with complete differences.

What is your Stomach?

Our stomach is a muscular organ that helps in digesting food. It is part of the gastrointestinal tract (GI). When your stomach absorbs food, it absorbs and produces digestive acids and enzymes. When our stomach breaks the food down, it passes it through our small intestine. The stomach is a J-shaped organ that digests food, and it produces enzymes (substances that cause chemical reactions) and acids (digestive juices). This combination of enzymes and digestive juices breaks down food to pass through our small intestine. Our stomach is part of the gastrointestinal tract (GI). The GI tract is a long tube that begins in your mouth. It runs to your anus, where the stool (stool) leaves your body. The GI tract is a key part of our digestive system.

The purpose of your stomach is to digest food and send it to your small intestine. It has three functions:

  • Keep eating for a while.
  • Contract and relax mixing and breaking food.
  • It produces enzymes and other specialized digestive cells.

Each part of our GI tract breaks down food and fluid and carries it to our body through the blood. During the digestive process, our body absorbs nutrients and water. Then, remove the digestive products from your digestive tract.

Food enters your GI tract in a few steps:

  • Mouth: As we chew and swallow, our tongue pushes food down our throat. A small tissue called the epiglottis closes your throat. The epiglottis prevents congestion.
  • Throat: Food travels through an empty tube called the oesophagus. Below, your oesophagal sphincter relaxes to allow food to pass through your stomach. (The sphincter is a ring-shaped server that is strong and loose.)
  • Stomach: Your stomach produces digestive juices and breaks down food. Hold the food until it is ready to leak into your small intestine.
  • Small intestines: Food mixed with digestive juice from your intestines, liver and pancreas. The walls of your intestines absorb nutrients and water from food and send waste to your intestines.
  • Large intestine: Your large intestine converts waste into faeces. It pushes the chair into your rectum.
  • Rectum: The rectum is the lower part of your large intestine. It keeps the bowels in the gut.

Stomach Bug VS Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is a disease or an inconvenience caused by eating or drinking food and/or water contaminated with germs, toxins, parasites, and/or chemicals. Stomach flu (stomach upset, gastroenteritis) is an unspecified term that can include food poisoning; However, stomach flu usually lasts for a few days (temporarily). Food poisoning, depending on the cause, is usually more serious than typhoid fever. Some forms of poisoning can be fatal (for example, botulism poisoning) while the stomach flu is rarely fatal (except for people who are severely dehydrated due to nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhoea). Vomiting and diarrhoea are common symptoms of typhoid fever and food poisoning. However, the symptoms of food poisoning are usually worse and often include other symptoms depending on the cause (bloody diarrhoea, emotional involvement as seen in botulism, fever, and other symptoms). Both food poisoning and stomach flu often occur in food and beverage group settings and/or in overcrowded conditions.

Generally, toxic foods can be traced back to the source of contaminated food, while stomach ulcers do not need to be attached to a specific food source. About one in two cases of typhoid fever has no underlying cause. Both of these gastrointestinal disorders can be controlled, although stomach flu may be more limited than other causes of food poisoning such as bacteria or parasites. The most severe symptoms of food poisoning and typhoid fever are usually treated by rehydration, orally and occasionally with intravenous fluid (IV). Many of the causes of stomach flu are caused by germs, so antibiotics do not work. However, bacterial toxins may need to be treated with antibiotics, and other specialized treatments may be required depending on the parasites, chemicals, and/or toxins that cause the disease. Treatment for nausea, vomiting, and/or dehydration is the same for both diseases. Anti-diarrheal drugs may not be recommended for some reason to contain food poisoning. Food poisoning can usually take up to 10 days, depending on the cause. Stomach flu usually lasts for about one to three days. You can get the flu for a few days to 2 weeks, depending on the type of virus you are infecting.

Difference Between a Stomach Bug and Food Poisoning

Properties Stomach Bug Food Poisoning
Causes Caused due to a virus

Caused due to the consumption of expired or food with bacteria..


Diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, cramps, and weight loss. General malaise, muscle aches, headache, sweating, eye swelling, and difficulty breathing.
Diagnosis A doctor should be the one to diagnose a stomach bug. It can be self-diagnosed.
Time Lasts for a day or two. In severe cases can last up to a week. It usually goes away within a couple of hours.

What is a Stomach Bug?

Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal (stomach) infection that includes signs and symptoms such as diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and maybe a fever. A very common way to develop viral gastroenteritis - commonly called stomach flu - is to have contact with an infected person or to eat food or contaminated water. If not, you will probably get better without any problems at all. But for infants, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems, viral gastroenteritis can be dangerous. There is no effective treatment for a stomach bug, so prevention is necessary. Avoid food and water that may be contaminated, and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.

Although commonly referred to as gastroenteritis, gastroenteritis is not the same as the flu. The flu (flu) only affects your respiratory system - your nose, throat, and lungs. Gastroenteritis, on the other hand, invades your intestines, causing signs and symptoms such as

  • Watery, usually bloodless diarrhoea - bloody diarrhoea usually means you have a different, very serious infection.
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Occasional muscle aches or headaches
  • Low-grade fever
  • Depending on the cause, the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis may appear within 1-3 days after infection and may vary from mild to severe. Symptoms usually last a day or two, but sometimes they can last for 14 days. Because the symptoms are the same, it is easy to confuse bacterial diarrhoea, such as Clostridioides, salmonella, and Escherichia coli, or insects such as giardia.

You are more likely to get viral gastroenteritis if you eat or drink contaminated food or water. You can also get gastroenteritis if you share dishes, towels, or food with someone who has the same virus that causes the condition.

Many viruses can cause gastroenteritis, including

  • Noroviruses. Both children and adults are infected with norovirus, the most common cause of foodborne illness worldwide. Norovirus infection can sweep families and communities. It is likely to spread among people in confined spaces. In most cases, the virus is found in contaminated food or water. But it can also spread among people who are very close or who share food. You can also catch the virus by touching the area contaminated with norovirus and touching your mouth.
  • Rotavirus. Globally, this is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in children, who often become infected when they put their fingers or other contaminated objects in their mouths. It can also spread through contaminated food. The infection is especially severe in infants and young children. Adults infected with rotavirus may have no symptoms, but they can still spread the disease. This is especially troubling in institutions such as nursing homes because older people with the virus can pass it on to others. A vaccine for viral gastroenteritis is available in some countries, including the United States, and appears to be effective in preventing infection.

Some shellfish and mostly the raw or undercooked oysters can also make you sick. Dirty drinking water is the cause of bacterial diarrhoea. But in most cases, the virus is transmitted when an infected person touches the food they eat without washing their hands after using the restroom. The main problem for viral gastroenteritis is dehydration - severe loss of water and essential salts and minerals. If you are healthy and drink enough to cover the fluid lost through vomiting and diarrhoea, dehydration should not be a problem.

Infants, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems may become easily dehydrated when they lose more fluids than they can recover. Hospitalization may be needed for the lost fluid to be replaced by an IV in their arms. Dehydration often does not lead to death.

The easiest way to prevent the spread of stomach bug is to follow these safety precautions:

  • Vaccinate your child. The vaccine for rotavirus gastroenteritis is available in some countries, including the United States. Given to children in the first year of life, the vaccine seems to be effective in preventing serious symptoms of the disease.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly. And make sure your kids do it, too. When your children are older, teach them to wash their hands, especially after going to the bathroom.

Wash your hands after changing diapers and before preparing or eating food, too. It is best to use warm water and soap and rub your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Wash near the cuticles, under the nails, and on the palms of the hands. Then wash thoroughly. Control sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer at times when soap and water are not available.

Use diarrhoea personal items in your home. Avoid sharing dining utensils, drinking glasses and plates. Use different towels in the bathroom.

Prepare food safely after ensuring that you washed your hands thoroughly. Wash all your fruits and vegetables before consuming them. Clean the kitchen areas before preparing food. Avoid preparing food when you are sick. Keep your distance from people when you have the virus or when they have it. Avoid close contact with anyone who has the virus, if possible. Remove germs from hard surfaces by dusting regularly and cleaning the area with cleaning liquids. If someone in your home has viral gastroenteritis, disinfect solid areas, such as counters, taps, and door handles, and a mixture of 5-25 teaspoons (73 to 369 micausestres) of household bleach in 3.8 litres of water. Avoid touching the laundry that may be at risk of infection. If someone in your home has viral gastroenteritis, wear gloves while touching the laundry or use a tong to pick the laundry up. Wash clothes and bedding in hot water and dry in a very hot place. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling clothes.

Check your childcare centre. Make sure the area has separate diapers for changing and preparing or serving food. A room with a nappy changing table should have a sink and a clean way to dispose of diapers. Take safety precautions when travelling. If you go abroad, you may get sick from food or contaminated water. You can reduce your risk by following these tips:

  • Drink only bottled or carbonated water.
  • Avoid ice cubes as they are usually made with contaminated water.
  • Use bottled water to brush your teeth.
  • Avoid uncooked foods - including peeled fruit, raw vegetables, and salads - that have been touched by human hands.
  • Avoid raw meat and fish.

What is Food Poisoning?

Foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, is the result of eating unclean, spoiled, or poisonous food. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, puking, and diarrhoea. Although uncomfortable, food poisoning is rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Reliable Source, 48 million people in the United States (or about one in 7) develop some form of food poisoning each year. Of those 48 million people, 128,000 are hospitalized. If you have food poisoning, the chances are unlikely. Symptoms may vary depending on your infection.

Common causes of food poisoning will usually include a few of the following symptoms:

  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea
  • Cleaning
  • loss of food
  • a slight fever
  • weakness
  • a headache

Food allergies that can be harmful to health include:

  • diarrhoea lasting more than three days
  • fever above 102 ° F (38.9 ° C)
  • difficulty seeing or speaking, a blurry vision
  • symptoms of severe dehydration, which may include dry mouth, low urination, and difficulty keeping the fluid low.
  • bloody urine.

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.

How long does it take to consume poison?

The length of time it takes for symptoms to start depends on the source of the disease but can range from 30 to 8 minutes. Too much food poisoning can be traced to one of three major causes: germs, parasites, or germs.

These germs are found in almost every food that people eat. However, the heat caused by cooking often kills germs in the food before it reaches our dish. Raw foods are a common source of food poisoning because they are not compatible with the cooking process. Occasionally, food will come in contact with wildlife or swamps. This is most likely if the patient prepares food and does not wash his hands before cooking. Meat, eggs, and dairy products are often contaminated. Water can also be contaminated with germs. Bacteria are the most common cause of poisoning. Causes of foodborne illness include;

  • E. coli, especially E-E, which produces Shiga coli (STEC)
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacterium
  • Clostridium botulinum
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Shigela
  • Vibrio vulnificus

When you think of harmful bacteria, words like E. coli and Salmonella came to mind for a good reason. Salmonella is a leading cause of food poisoning bacteria in the United States. According to the CDC, an estimated 1,350,000 cases of food poisoning, including 26,500 hospitalizations, can be followed by salmonella infection each year. Campylobacter and C. botulinum toxin are two unknown and potentially harmful viruses that can be hidden in our food.

Treatment of food poisoning can usually be at home. Below are some ways you can help treat food poisoning:

  • Stay Hydrated - If you have food poisoning, you must stay hydrated properly. Sports drinks high on electrolytes can be helpful. Fruit juice and coconut juice can replenish carbohydrates and help with fatigue.
  • Avoid caffeine, which can irritate the digestive tract. Decaffeinated teas and cool herbs such as chamomile, peppermint, and dandelion can help calm an upset stomach.
  • Take over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as loperamide (Imodium) and Pepto-Bismol can help you control your diarrhoea and suppress your nausea.

However, you should check with your doctor before using this medication, as the body uses vomiting and diarrhoea to release the toxin system. Also, using these drugs can mask the severity of the disease and cause you to delay seeking professional treatment.

Pyrantel pamoate (Reese's Pinworm) is a common remedy for worms. Take prescription drugs. Although most cases of food poisoning go away on their own, some people can benefit from prescription drugs, depending on the virus that causes their illness. Medications may be of benefit to the elderly, infirm, or pregnant women. For pregnant women, antibiotic treatment helps prevent the infection from spreading to the unborn baby.

If you need a prescription, your doctor may recommend one of these types of medications for the following reasons:

  • A. lumbricoides: antiparasitic albendazole (Albenza) or mebendazole (Enverm)
  • Campylobacter: the antibiotic azithromycin (Zithromax)
  • Cryptosporidium: antiparasitic nitazoxanide (Alinia), used to treat diarrhoea
  • D. latum (fish tapeworm): antibacterial praziquantel (Biltricide)
  • Enterobiasis (worms): albendazole (Albenza) or mebendazole (Enverm)
  • G. lamblia:
  • nitazoxanide (Alinia)
  • antibiotics metronidazole (Flagyl), paromomycin, quinacrine, or furazolidone
  • tinidazole (Tindamax), an antiviral drug and an antiparasite
  • L. monocytogenes: antibiotic ampicillin
  • Opisthorchiidae (liver fluke): praziquantel (Biltricide) or albendazole (Albenza)
  • Paragonimus (lung fluke): praziquantel (Biltricide) or antiparasitic triclabendazole (Egaten)
  • Shigella: azithromycin antibiotics (Zithromax) or ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • T. saginata (bovine tapeworm): praziquantel (Biltricide) or albendazole (Albenza), a non-T-label treatment. saginata
  • T. solium (swine tapeworm worm): praziquantel (Biltricide) or albendazole (Albenza), which is a label-free T drug. solium
  • T. gondii:
  • a combination of antiparasitic pyrimethamine (Daraprim) and an antibiotic such as sulfadiazine
  • antibiotic spiramycin, as an independent drug
  • Trichinella: albendazole (Albenza) or mebendazole (Enver)

What is the Difference Between a Stomach Bug and Food Poisoning?

  • Food poisoning (also known as foodborne illness) is a disease or irritation of your digestive tract through foods and beverages that contain pathogens, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). It is important to know that stomach flu is not related to the "normal" flu. The flu is a highly contagious disease caused by fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and respiratory problems. In the worst cases, the flu can be life-threatening (especially, get your flu every year).
  • Food poisoning is caused by eating or drinking a product that is contaminated with germs, germs, or germs. One way people often get food poisoning is by eating raw or undercooked meat. Stomach upset is a virus that attacks your digestive system. These infections are highly contagious and grow rapidly.
  • You will start to show symptoms 2-6 hours after eating the product, so it happens immediately. It is also shorter than the gastrointestinal tract. Food poisoning usually lasts between 1 and 3 days. You usually do not know that you are infected until 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus. Symptoms of food poisoning are diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and cramps, or fever. As mentioned above, these symptoms are usually very severe. Stomach upset will usually last 2-3 days, but in some cases, it can last for ten days with symptoms including diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, low fever, and/or dizziness.
  • There are ways to prevent food poisoning. These methods include not eating any raw or undercooked meat, keeping dairy products at the right temperature, and as a rule, do not eat anything left over for more than two hours. The only cure is dehydration, drug use, and plenty of rest. A few ways to avoid getting the victim are to keep your hand clean, keep anyone infected with the virus away, and clean and disinfect any areas that may be contaminated.


Your healthcare provider will help you determine if your symptoms are caused by a virus or viruses or parasites. If food poisoning is the cause, there may be a prescription for antibiotics available to help you recover. Taking anti-diarrheal medication may be more painful than helpful during gastroenteritis, especially if it comes from food poisoning. Talk to your healthcare provider for the best course you can take. Do you suffer from nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea? There may be a few situations that cause you to feel uncomfortable, such as interrupting a co-worker or eating at your favourite seafood restaurant. Diseases such as food poisoning and gastroenteritis (commonly referred to as "stomach flu") often cause more than just temporary pain and discomfort. But being able to identify the cause of your illness can be helpful in case your condition worsens. An upset stomach is caused by germs or parasites that spread through direct or indirect contact with a sick person. Norovirus and rotavirus are among the most common viruses that cause gastroenteritis and may spread when people are very close, such as in nursing children, hospitals and nursing homes, military personnel in barracks, and students in dormitories and on footpaths. However, anyone can be infected. Washing hands effectively and regularly helps prevent the spread of germs, Bonner said. Vaccination of children against rotavirus - an inoculation given to infants under eight months of age - can help prevent infection, as it can stay away from anyone with the common cold. Disinfecting common areas such as door handles and taps can also help reduce the risk of infection.




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