Unfortunately it is very difficult to recognize between stomach flu and a food poisoning because the symptoms of both of them are almost alike. Whether it is a stomach flu or food poisoning the experience is very unpleasant and parks one in the bathroom for a couple of days. Being in the bed for vomiting, nausea, loose watery stools, headache, fever and chills are naturally distressing for anyone.
But the good news is that both of them are curable and goes off within few days after the routine course of virus and bacteria are over. While stomach flu is less dangerous the food poisoning can become serious and may lead to hospitalization too.
Stomach flu - This actually refers to a condition known as viral gastroenteritis which results due to infection of gastrointestinal tracts with variety of viruses. Stomach discomforts accompanied with loose and watery stools are caused because of the viral attack. One should be aware that these generally go off within a few days after the virus has run its course of action and this condition is generally not serious. One has to take medicines as prescribed by the physician, drink plenty of water to prevent from dehydration and take a bland diet to give comfort to the stomach and the digestive system.
Food poisoning - It is mainly caused by bacterial infection. Bacterial infection is caused via contaminated food and water. Contamination of food can occur at any time during the food preparation; beginning with food handling and ending with food consumption. In case of meat, it can originate from the abattoir; and for vegetables and cereals, the point of origination could be from the field. Undercooked food, bad food handling practices, and traveling to places where the water is not pure are some of the causes of food poisoning.
The doctor treating you would not even tell you whether it is a stomach flu or food poisoning unless the condition become serious and they ask for stool investigations which can reveal whether stool has strains of virus or bacteria.
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