Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Food Poisoning vs Stomach Bug

So many families around us are coming down with the "stomach bug" that I figured it is only a matter of time before it hits us... especially since I'm exposed to so much of it from treating patients.

Well, Miss A threw up at least five times tonight.  Poor little thing, it is so heart wrenching to watch her small body writhe and retch and I'm amazed at how so much can come out of a such a tiny tummy!  I am not feeling so well myself even as I write this so I fear I'm going to be #2 on the hit list.  Unfortunately, if this is truly the bug and not some bad food she ate earlier today or yesterday... then it will likely go through most if not all of our family since the stomach bug is so contagious.

So how does one differentiate between a stomach bug and food poisoning?  It is not always easy to tell which is which since a lot of the symptoms overlap.  Here are some main differences:

  • food poisoning is due to bad food (usually something like potato salad)
  • stomach bug is usually due to a virus (rotavirus, adenovirus, norwalk virus etc)
  • food poisoning usually starts within 2-24 hrs of exposure
  • stomach bug can take from 1 to even 10 days of exposure before symptoms start
  • food poisoning usually lasts 24 hrs
  • stomach bug can last 3-5 days
  • pretty similar between the two with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and sometimes diarrhea
  • if notice blood, should get evaluated by a physician
  • again pretty similar between the two with rest and hydration being main focus
  • better to push small amounts of fluids more frequently than large amounts
Click here for a site that actually has a pretty good flow chart and you can click here to take a quiz to see which you likely have.