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Stomach Flu Vs Food Poisoning


Did you know that gastroenteritis is a common cause of disease and death throughout the world? Gastroenteritis is the general term used to describe various conditions that cause the inflammation of the stomach and intestinal tract and is more commonly known as “gastric flu” or “stomach flu”.

The stomach flu is not to be confused with food poisoning, because although food poisoning is one of the causes of the stomach flu, the latter can actually be caused by a number of different causes.

By definition, food poisoning is the condition wherein an individual ingests a poisonous agent that is contained in a certain food or drink. These poisonous agents can be in the form of bacteria, viruses, parasites or other poisonous chemicals.


Viruses or bacteria or infectious gastroenteritis and noninfectious gastroenteritis respectively cause gastroenteritis.

Statistics show that viruses cause more than one third of stomach flu cases in children. These viruses are transmitted by consuming food and drinks that are contaminated with the virus, or coming into contact with contaminated objects or simply being in the presence of having contact with an infected individual. Non-infectious stomach flu is caused by bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.

Food poisoning is specifically caused by viruses like the norovirus, rotavirus, and hepatitis A. Food poisoning also comes from bacteria, such as salmonellae, campylobacter, staphylococcus aureaus, and shigella.


The symptoms that are commonly experienced with the stomach flu are diarrhea, stomach cramps, stomach bloating, low-grade fever, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and weakness. Those afflicted with more severe cases of the stomach flu will experience high fever, bloody vomit and stool, and severe bloating of the stomach. Because of the constant vomiting and diarrhea, further complications such as dehydration can take effect.

Stomach flu resulting from food poisoning specifically results in the same general symptoms as described above, but it will mostly be mild in nature. The symptoms of food poisoning will appear within as quickly as half an hour from eating the poisonous substance, and will disappear within one to two days.



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Cunha DO, John P. “Food Poisoning Causes, Symptoms, Treatment – Food Poisoning Symptoms on EMedicineHealth.” EMedicineHealth. WebMd, Inc., 25 Oct. 2010. Web. 25 Oct. 2010. <>.

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