What Is The Difference Between Food Poisoning and Stomach Bug?

Viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and stomach bug are the names of the sickness of the stomach that is caused by a viral infection. It is common in adults and kids as well.

People consider it food poisoning but food poisoning is totally different. Food poisoning is more common than stomach bug. According to various studies, food poisoning affects around 48 million people throughout the world. It is very common in the United States of America and some other countries.

Consuming healthy foods such as beef broth can reduce the risk of stomach bug and food poisoning.

In this article, we will discuss the difference between food poisoning and the stomach bug.

What are the Symptoms?

There is a difference between a stomach bug and food poisoning.

Symptoms of Stomach Bug:

If you are affected with viral gastroenteritis or a stomach bug, here are some symptoms you may face.

  • Diarrhea
  • General malaise
  • Headache
  • Thirst
  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle aches
  • Intestinal cramps
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Joint aches
  • Fever

If you are exposed to the virus, you will not see symptoms instantly. It usually takes 24 to 72 hours to see the symptoms. With proper treatment, the stomach bug can be resolved in couple of days.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning:

As discussed before, food poisoning and stomach bug are 2 different conditions. Symptoms of food poisoning are different from the stomach bug. But still, as both are stomach conditions, some symptoms are the same.

Here are some of the symptoms you may face if you are affected with food poisoning here are some of the symptoms you may face.

  • Stomach cramping.
  • Fatigue.
  • General malaise
  • Thirst.
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal cramping
  • Chills

These are the start of the symptoms. If left untreated symptoms may become more severe. Bloody stool and loss of consciousness are some of the severe symptoms.

Symptoms of food poisoning usually take lesser days to recover. Within two days you may feel better.

Food poisoning is not fatal but one form known as botulism may be fatal if left untreated. It is caused by bacteria that can produce toxins.

Clostridium botulinum is that bacteria responsible for botulism and it can cause blurry vision and other health disorders.

What are the Causes?

Causes of Food Poisoning:

Some infectious organisms such as viruses and bacteria can cause food poisoning. Undercooked meat and contaminated foods are the main reasons of food poisoning.

However, some other foods can also cause food poisoning here are some of them.

  • Undercooked eggs
  • Raw fish
  • Undercooked rice
  • Contaminated water
  • Unwashed fruits
  • Raw eggs
  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Raw sprouts
  • Unpasteurized juice
  • Raw Oysters
  • Unwashed vegetables

Causes of Stomach Bug:

Some viruses can cause stomach bug. Norovirus and adenovirus are some of them.


Food poisoning or stomach bug can cause dehydration. Not instantly, but they can develop several symptoms after some days. Here are some of the symptoms of dehydration.

You will face a decrease in urine.

Change of urine color. Dark color, if the body is dehydrated.

Fast heart rate.

Dry mouth and excessive thirst.

Low blood pressure.

What is the Treatment?

Treatments of stomach bug and food poisoning are different. They also depend on the intensity of the disease.

Treatment of a Stomach Bug:

The stomach virus can cause various other health problems such as dehydration. If any symptoms of dehydration appear, consult doctor, and take proper treatment.

To treat stomach bug and dehydration, drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes. To restore the body’s energy levels you can drink healthy liquids such as bone broth.

But prevent drinking sugary drinks. Instead of them drink healthy fluids or plain water to stay hydrated. Sodas or sugary drinks are not good for health.

When feeling recovered and healthy again, start with light and a small portion of foods. Because now your stomach is not as strong as it was before. Start with bland foods and healthy beverages.

Here is a list of foods that you should consume as a start after recovery.

  • Cereals
  • Bananas
  • Yogurt
  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • Bread
  • Apples
  • Potatoes

Spicy foods should be completely avoided as they can trigger the condition again. Avoid alcohol, smoking, caffeine, and other foods that are restricted.

Ending Thoughts:

Food poisoning and stomach bug are two different diseases. Stomach bug is more severe and takes more time for recovery. Whether food poisoning takes lesser time. But some foods are recommended to eat and some are restricted while you are affected.

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