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Crucial Question: Is It the Flu or Food Poisoning?

By Sandy Schroeder

When nausea and stomach pain strike, relief is often the most pressing issue. Later, you may wonder if you have the flu or food poisoning as you consider how you feel and what you have eaten.

Looking at Food Poisoning

Food poisoning occurs when contaminated food is eaten. The impact varies depending on the individual's sensitivity, health conditions, and amount consumed.  One in six Americans get food poisoning each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). There are more than 250 foodborne diseases. Contamination can be viral, bacterial or parasitic (such as salmonella), but it is more apt to occur with raw foods such as these.

  • Leafy greens
  • Cantaloupe
  • Ice Cream
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggs
  • Oysters

The American Academy of Family Physicians gives us some tips to help us separate food poisoning from flu.

Stomach ache - When your stomach keeps aching it can be a symptom of the flu or a sign of contaminated food. You will need to let it settle and eat cautiously as you check out your other symptoms.

Vomiting - If your evening becomes more disturbing after dinner as nausea gains ground, you may wind up throwing up during the night. These signs are common warning markers for food poisoning.

Sharp stomach pain - Intense cramps may show up along with nausea. Both can be signs of food poisoning.

Diarrhea often follows - Vomiting and diarrhea may signal food poisoning or stomach flu.

Fever's mixed signals - A fever can be sign of flu, strep throat or food poisoning. A visit to urgent care might be needed for a diagnosis.

Appetite blanks out - After the initial blast of throwing up, nausea and pain, you simply may not want to eat anything. Eating bland foods and limiting fluids to water or soda, which might help settle the stomach, is usually the best approach. If loss of appetite persists you may need to see your doctor to sort things out. Try to keep sipping fluids to avoid dehydration.

Exhaustion and weakness - Your energy level may take a dive without much food and the sudden impact of fever, pain and nausea. Let your body recover gradually with more sleep and no work. 

Monitor and Take Action

If you think you might have food poisoning, go to an Urgent Care Center or ER. If symptoms such as severe stomach pain, fever, repeat vomiting and inability to keep food down continues, call or see your doctor or go to ER. Be aware of the dangers of dehydration and take steps to avoid exposing flu germs to other family members. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Spring, Tex.

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