It has happened to all of us—that rush to the bathroom following a questionable dinner that leaves us hugging the toilet for 24-hours of misery. However, this embarrassing debacle often leaves us scratching our heads over whether we have food poisoning or the stomach flu.
It’s tough to tell which you have since the symptoms can often be identical. But there are several subtle differences to help you decipher between food poisoning and the stomach flu…
The Telltale Symptoms of Food Poisoning
You can hardly ignore the symptoms of food poisoning. For one, they often leave you debilitated for days with symptoms of weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and even bloody, explosive diarrhea to expel the bad food (e.g., Salmonella) from your system. However, the symptoms of food poisoning are often mistaken for the stomach flu, even though there is a big difference between how each illness affects your body.
With the stomach flu, a virus attacks your intestines (e.g., norovirus or rotavirus). Plus, you contract a stomach virus by coming into close contact with someone who is infected (i.e., you may touch the same object or share food). A stomach flu virus can also be transmitted via contaminated food or water. On the other hand, food poisoning is transmitted via contaminated food that contains infectious organisms, such as viruses, parasites, or bacteria (e.g., E. coli).