How Do You Know If You Have Food Poisoning Or The Stomach Flu
Food poisoning and the stomach flu may or may not be the same thing, depending if the causative agent is transmitted by contaminated food, or if the agent is transmitted by non-food mechanisms such as body secretions. Most health-care professionals equate stomach flu to viral gastroenteritis.
If numerous cases of viral gastroenteritis occur in a situation where many people have been eating, it certainly may be considered food poisoning. Norwalk virus is responsible for many cases of food borne illness outbreaks on cruise ships.
- vomiting, and
This can cause significant amounts of fluid loss and diarrhea along with nausea and vomiting may make it difficult to replace lost fluid, leading to dehydration. In developing countries where infectious epidemics cause diarrheal illnesses, thousands of people die because of dehydration.
As noted in the section above, other organ systems may be infected and affected by food poisoning. Symptoms will depend upon what organ system is involved .
Who Is At Risk For Food Poisoning
Anyone can get food poisoning. But some people are more likely to get it than others. They are also at greater risk of getting very ill from it. This is because their bodys disease-fighting system doesnt work well.
People who are at greater risk include:
- Young children. Their immune systems arent fully developed yet.
- Older adults. Their immune systems don’t work as well. Age-related changes in our senses of taste and smell also make it easier to eat contaminated food by mistake.
- Pregnant women. A womans immune system changes during pregnancy. The unborn baby is also at risk.
- People with long-term disease. People with diseases such as diabetes or cancer have weaker immune systems.
When To See A Doctor For Food Poisoning
See your doctor or healthcare provider if you have symptoms that are severe, including:
- Bloody diarrhea
- High fever
- Frequent vomiting that prevents keeping liquids down
- Signs of dehydration, including little or no urination, a very dry mouth and throat, or feeling dizzy when standing up
- Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days
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Symptoms Of Lack Of Fluid In The Body
Diarrhoea and vomiting may cause lack of fluid in the body . Consult a doctor quickly if you suspect you are becoming dehydrated. Mild dehydration is common and is usually easily reversed by drinking lots of fluids. Severe dehydration can be fatal unless quickly treated because the organs of your body need a certain amount of fluid to function.
Symptoms of dehydration in adults include:
Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and immediate medical attention is needed.
Dehydration in adults is more likely to occur in:
- Elderly or frail people.
- Pregnant women.
- People with severe diarrhoea and vomiting. In particular, if you are not able to replace the fluid lost with enough drinks.
What Is Food Poisoning
Food poisoning means getting sick from eating food with poisonous stuff in it. But not usually the kind of poisons used by the killer in an Agatha Christie story. Usually the poison comes from some type of germ.
Many types of germs can cause food poisoning, including bacteria, viruses and parasites. Common culprits include:
You are more likely to pick up food poisoning if you are not careful about how you store and handle food, and about what and where you eat or drink.
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How Is Food Poisoning Treated
Most people dont need medical help for food poisoning, as their symptoms are not severe and dont last long. However, people in high-risk groups should see a doctor early on, to make sure they dont get dehydrated.
For children, see your GP or call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 if your child has diarrhoea that lasts for more than a few days or has bloody diarrhoea.
Take your child to the emergency department immediately if:
- your child has symptoms of food poisoning and is less than 1 year old
- your child has severe stomach pain and vomiting and cant keep fluid down
- your child isnt drinking and has signs of dehydration, including little or no wee, weight loss, tiredness and extreme thirst
- youre worried about your child being extremely unwell
For adults, seek medical advice if:
- you still have symptoms after 3 days, or your symptoms are very severe
- you still cant keep any fluids down, more than 24 hours after getting sick
- there is blood or mucus in your vomit or diarrhoea
For a mild case of food poisoning, you may try sucking ice chips, replacing lost fluids and electrolytes and easing back into your normal diet and routine when you feel ready. Antibiotics may help with some bacterial types of food poisoning, but are usually not needed.
How To Treat Food Poisoning
Most cases of food poisoning are mild and clear up in a few days. During that time, the goal is to prevent dehydration. Dehydration is the loss of fluids and electrolytes your body needs. You should avoid solid foods and dairy products until the vomiting and diarrhea have passed. Once you are feeling better, ease into eating and drinking again. Try bland foods, such as crackers, toast, and bananas. Avoid spicy foods, fried foods, dairy, and foods that are high in fat and sugar. Drink plenty of fluids but avoid milk or caffeinated beverages. Also, sports drinks are not meant to be used to treat diarrhea. They do not replace the bodys electrolytes correctly to prevent dehydration.
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What Are Other Colors Of Food Poisoning
Not all types of food poisoning cause yellow diarrhea. It may present with different colors or even without diarrhea.
- Yellow diarrhea: in most cases of food poisoning, the stool color may turn yellow. And this is usually not a dangerous sign It is simply because your stool stays for shorter periods inside your intestine .
It is usually due to organisms infecting your small intestine
- Bloody diarrhea/dysentery: some types of food poisoning can lead to severe diarrhea with blood or mucus.
It is usually due to organisms infecting your large intestine , such as shigellosis, campylobacter, E. coli , and entamoeba Histolytica.
- Greenish diarrhea: with some small intestinal organisms, severe watery diarrhea can turn into greenish color due to the rapid passage of unprocessed green bile as a result of diarrhea. This can occur with salmonella, giardia, and norovirus .
- Rice watery diarrhea: although not common in the USA. But rice watery diarrhea is usually due to vibrio cholera infection .
- No-diarrhea: some forms of food poisoning can present without any diarrhea. And the symptoms include vomiting only or non-intestinal symptoms such as jaundice , neurological symptoms , or body aches .
Is It A Stomach Virus Or Food Poisoning
Family Practitioner, Reliant Medical Group
When you are vomiting every hour or going through a bad round of diarrhea, you may not care that much whether you have a stomach virus or food poisoning. However, once you recover you may wonder if you can safely return to your favorite restaurant or barbecue stand againso it can be valuable to know the difference.
In the United States, the most common cause of a stomach virus is the norovirus. This is a viral infection that attacks the digestive system . Stomach viruses like the norovirus are very contagious and can spread quickly. Weve all heard the stories about passengers on cruise ships suffering en masse with the norovirus. Unfortunately, people infected with a stomach virus are contagious from the moment they become ill to at least the first few days after they recover. Typical stomach viruses can be spread in a number of ways:
- Eating food or drinking liquids that have been contaminated with the virus
- Touching a surface that someone with the infection has touched
- Having direct contact with someone that has the virus
Stomach viruses can be easily spread through the vomit and stool of infected people, so caretakers should be especially careful and take precautions. Although there are rapid stool tests that can be used to detect the norovirus or rotavirus, your doctor will probably make a diagnosis by asking about your symptoms. Typical symptoms of a stomach virus are:
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What Are The Most Common Infectious Types And Causes Of Food Poisoning
the most common causes food poisoning may be due to infections caused by
- parasites, and
- infrequently, prions.
More than 200 infectious causes exist. Sometimes it is not the bacteria that causes the problem, but rather the toxin that bacteria produce in the food before it is eaten. This is the case with Staphylococcal food poisoning and with botulism.
What Is Staph Food Poisoning
Staph food poisoning is a gastrointestinal illness caused by eating foods contaminated with toxins produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
About 25% of people and animals have Staph on their skin and in their nose. It usually does not cause illness in healthy people, but Staph has the ability to make toxins that can cause food poisoning.
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Key Points About Food Poisoning
- Food poisoning is caused by bacteria and viruses found in food.
- Symptoms may look like stomach flu .
- Treatment focuses on replacing fluids and easing nausea and vomiting.
- In severe cases you may need to be hospitalized.
- To prevent food poisoning, wash your hands often. Also prepare and store food safely.
Chicken Beef Pork And Turkey
Thoroughly cooking chicken, poultry products, and meat destroys germs.
Raw and undercooked meat and poultry can make you sick. Most raw poultry contains Campylobacter. It also may contain Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and other bacteria. Raw meat may contain Salmonella, E. coli, Yersinia, and other bacteria.
- You should not wash raw poultry or meat before cooking it, even though some older recipes may call for this step. Washing raw poultry or meat can spread bacteria to other foods, utensils, and surfaces, and does not prevent illness.
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Can Food Poisoning Cause Constipation
Constipation frequently occurs after an episode of food poisoning. Just like loose motions, constipation too is an abnormal bowel movement. Some reasons why constipation occurs after food poisoning are
What Are The Symptoms And Incubation Time For Large And Small Intestinal Food Poisoning
Large intestine and small intestine have an intermediate incubation from about 1 to 3 days.
Infections of the large intestine or colon can cause bloody, mucousy diarrhea associated with crampy abdominal pain.
- Campylobacter, according to CDC data, is the number one cause of food-borne disease in the United States.
- Shigella spp contaminate food and water and cause dysentery .
- Salmonella infections often occur because of poorly or undercooked cooked and/or poor handling of the chicken and eggs. In individuals with weakened immune systems, including the elderly, the infection can enter the bloodstream and cause potentially life-threatening infections.
- Vibrio parahaemolyticus can contaminate saltwater shellfish and cause a watery diarrhea.
Small intestine infection
Diarrhea due to small bowel infection tends not to be bloody, but infections may affect both the small and large intestine at the same time.
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What Causes The Stomach Bug
Several different viruses may cause the stomach bug. Viruses that most frequently cause it include norovirus, rotavirus, and adenovirus.
The norovirus alone causes up to 21 million cases of the stomach bug in the United States each year. Other viruses such as astroviruses can also cause this condition.
Stomach bug caused by a rotavirus or norovirus infection is highly contagious. In the United States, infection most commonly occurs between October and April. The most common way to contract the virus is from direct contact with someone who is sick.
You can also contract the virus from contact with something someone infected has touched that contains their stool, saliva, or vomit substance with the virus in it.
What Can I Eat After Food Poisoning
When youre ready for real food, ease into things gently. Avoid foods high in dairy, fat, fiber, and sugar and opt for mild foods instead. The BRAT diet bananas, rice, applesauce, toast is a good place to start. Bland foods like potatoes, crackers, and cooked carrots may also be gentle on the stomach.
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Is Food Poisoning A Serious Condition
It can be. Dehydration can be dangerous, and so can certain types of food poisoning. Food poisoning caused by the Listeria bacteria can be very dangerous for the unborn babies of pregnant women. The infection is usually very mild for the mother, but can cause miscarriage, premature labor, stillbirth and developmental problems in their babies. People who have weakened immune systems are also at risk of developing complications from Listeria. Food poisoning caused by Escherichia coli bacteria can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome . HUS can cause kidney failure, especially in people who have weakened immune systems.
What Is The Best Way To Prevent Food Poisoning
You can help prevent food poisoning by preparing and cooking meals carefully. Keep your food separate from other foods and make sure that all the ingredients are washed with clean water before use.
The following foods are a common cause of food poisoning:
- Raw or undercooked meats and seafood
- Unpasteurized milk or dairy products
- Unpasteurized juice
- Food poisoning
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Common Pathogens That Cause Diarrhea Within Hours Include:
- Salmonella is a bacterium youve probably heard of, and diarrhea and other symptoms are likely to appear within 6-48 hours. Salmonella is found on raw meat and poultry, and eggs and can spread from contaminated utensils and surfaces.
- Staphylococcus aureus causes diarrhea within 1-6 hours and can contaminate cream sauces, meats, and prepared salads. This bacterium can also spread person to person through droplets or hand contact.
- Noroviruses can cause diarrhea 12-48 hours after youre exposed through contaminated raw fruits or vegetables, oysters, or by an infected food handler.
- Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism. Symptoms usually appear in 12-72 hours and can include nervous system symptoms along with diarrhea and other gastric issues. Botulism can be severe and long-lasting and requires medical attention. Foods that can carry clostridium botulinum include improperly canned foods, fermented fish, and baked potatoes cooked in aluminum foil.
- The bacteria Bacillus cereus and Clostridium perfringens cause diarrhea that begins 8-16 hours after ingesting contaminated meats, gravy, stews, precooked foods, and food not kept at proper temperatures.
- Listeria, is a bacterium that can be carried by unpasteurized dairy products or ready-to-eat deli meats. Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms may begin in as little as nine hours, but Listeria can be serious, with disease progression that can include neurologic symptoms and complications of pregnancy.
You May Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, tends to be diagnosed when persistent or chronic gastrointestinal symptoms cannot be explained with any other diagnosis. These symptoms include:
IBS has been known to increase mucus production in patients whose primary complaint is diarrhea , according to gastroenterologist, Jeffrey Hoberman, MD, in San Antonio, Texas.
However, the presence of mucus in stool along with other symptoms of IBS can also be a sign of other more serious conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
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Does Food Poisoning Always Cause Nausea Vomiting Or Diarrhea Or Can All Of These Symptoms Be Absent In A Case Of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning cannot be diagnosed unless we have a sample of the food and test it for toxins which generally takes three to four days, says Yvette McQueen, MD, emergency medicine physician and CEO of MedQueen LLC, through which she offers travel medicine, urgent care and nutritional consultations via telemedicine to individuals, executives and travel groups.
Food poisoning or contamination is suspected if a person becomes sick and has certain symptoms after a certain time of eating the food, continues Dr. McQueen.
We call it gastroenteritis, which means there is inflammation and possible infection of the gastrointestinal tract in the body.
It can be brought on by irritation, virus or bacteria and they have been ingested by contaminated food and/or water.
How Long Does It Take To Get Food Poisoning
To answer how long does it take to get food poisoning is that in most cases of food poisoning symptoms tend to come on within twenty four to seventy two hours of eating the contaminated food, sometimes even as less as one hour. However, for some types of food poisoning, it can be as long as 90 days.
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How Food Poisoning Is Diagnosed
A doctor may be able to diagnose the type of food poisoning based on your symptoms.
In severe cases, blood tests, stool tests, and tests on food that youve eaten may be conducted to determine whats responsible for the food poisoning. A doctor may also use a urine test to evaluate whether you are dehydrated as a result of food poisoning.
Anyone can come down with food poisoning. Statistically speaking, nearly everyone will come down with food poisoning at least once in their lives.
There are some populations that are more at risk than others. These include:
- Immunocompromised people. Anyone with a suppressed immune system or an autoimmune disease may have a greater risk of infection and complications resulting from food poisoning.
- Pregnant people. Pregnant people are more at risk because their bodies are coping with changes to their metabolism and circulatory system during pregnancy.
- Older adults. Adults who are 65 years or older also face a greater risk of contracting food poisoning. This is because their immune systems may not respond quickly to infectious organisms.
- Young children. Children under 5 years old are also considered an at-risk population because their immune systems arent as developed as those of adults. Young children are more easily affected by dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea.