Food Poisoning vs Stomach Flu

Food poisoning and stomach flu have much in common, but they’re in fact two kinds of illnesses.


So, what’s the difference between food poisoning and stomach flu?


Difference in Definition:

Food poisoning is a foodborne illness caused by eating contaminated food, while stomach flu is a digestive disease caused by viral infection.

Difference in Symptoms:

Symptoms of both include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever. But there’re still some differences.

  • For food poisoning, some cases may be symptom-free.
  • In severe cases of food poisoning, bloating, gas, slurred speech, and blurred vision may occur.
  • Diarrhea is often bloody in the case of food poisoning, and non-bloody in the case of stomach flu.

Difference in Duration:

Food poisoning can be mild and only last for an hour. It can also be severe and last for weeks. As to stomach flu, it usually lasts for a few days, occasionally for ten days.

Difference in Causes:

Food poisoning is caused by eating food contaminated by harmful organisms: viruses, bacteria, and parasites, while stomach flu is caused by certain viruses.

Difference in Ways of Developing:

Food poisoning is developed by eating contaminated food, while stomach flu is developed through close contact with infected persons, as well as by eating contaminated food.

Difference in Risk Factors:

  • Pregnant women are more susceptible to food poisoning.
  • People who gather in close quarters are more likely to get stomach flu.

Difference in Peak Time:

Chances of getting food poisoning are higher in the summer, while those of getting stomach flu are higher in late winter and early spring.

Difference in Treatment:

Most often, food poisoning is mild and needs no treatment, while stomach flu is troublesome and professional help is necessary.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.