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Stomach Bug or Food Poisoning?

Stomach Bug Or Food Poisoning?

Nobody likes waking up in the middle of the night to stomach pain — but if you or one of your kids is dealing with a stomach bug or food poisoning, the misery of cramping, bloating and hours in the bathroom is probably all too familiar. What should you do when this sort of stomach illness strikes? How can you tell the difference between food poisoning symptoms and stomach bug symptoms? Is there a food poisoning cure or stomach bug cure available? What should you do when you’re facing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or other similar ailments? When could dehydration treatment or constipation treatments be useful? When should you know to go to urgent care?

To help answer these questions, here’s a look at both conditions and what you can do about them.

Differences Between a Stomach Bug and Food Poisoning

While both stomach bugs and foodborne illnesses can be associated with similar nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, the two conditions are not the same.

  • Stomach bug: A bug occurs because of exposure to a virus, typically 24-48 hours before symptoms appear.
  • Food poisoning: Food poisoning occurs because of exposure to foodborne bacteria, viruses or parasites, typically two to six hours before symptoms appear.

Symptoms of the Two Conditions

Both conditions may cause symptoms such as diarrhea and fever, which is why they can be so hard to tell apart from each other. A stomach bug may also involve vomiting, nausea, cramping, joint stiffness and/or weight loss. Food poisoning can evidence itself through fatigue, general malaise, muscle aches, headache, sweating, eye swelling, difficulty breathing and/or thirst. While a stomach bug’s symptoms could persist up to a week (in some cases 10 days), symptoms of food poisoning typically alleviate within two days.

How the Two Conditions Are Connected

What stomach bugs and foodborne illness have in common, beyond some symptoms, is how they spread. Both occur because of exposure to a virus or bacteria, whether in people or via food. This is part of why preventative measures to protect the body from exposure are so important.

Ways to Avoid Getting Sick

Even if you’re only experiencing minor abdominal pain, dealing with stomach illnesses is never fun. To help prevent contracting these common conditions, here are some good habits to practice:

  • Always wash hands thoroughly, especially when sick or exposed to someone sick.
  • When sick, stay home to avoid spreading illness.
  • Keep your food preparation area and equipment clean.
  • Fully cook all meats and seafood.
  • Keep perishable foods refrigerated.

When you’re looking for fast and effective stomach and gastrointestinal treatment in Chicago, come to Aayu Clinics. Learn more about our clinic and locations and drop by today.

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