Healthy Living

Is It Food Poisoning or Do I Have Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis and Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is different from gastro. It is more prevalent than gastroenteritis. In fact, it is estimated that about 1 in every 6 Americans experiences food poisoning daily.

Gastro: The Symptoms

The following are the common signs and symptoms of gastro:

• Watery stool (diarrhea)
• Some stomach pain or cramps
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Mild or high fever
• Some weight loss
• Some joint pain
• Muscle aches

Typically, you will develop the signs and symptoms of gastro within 24-48 hours of exposure to gastro-causing germs. Gastro will resolve within 2-3 days, but the symptoms can also go for a week. If the symptoms persist, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Food Poisoning: The Symptoms

• Stomach cramping
• Fatigue
Diarrhea or constipation can also set in
• Mild or severe fever
• Chills
• Muscle aches
• Severe or mild headaches
• Unusual sweating
• Unusual thirst
• General body malaise

If the food poisoning is severe, you can experience:

• Blood in your stool and vomit
• Extreme abdominal cramping
• Abrupt shock
• Certain degree of loss of consciousness

The signs and symptoms of food poisoning will usually show within 2-6 hours after potential exposure. Typically, the symptoms will not last for more than 2 days. Anyone can experience food poisoning, but it is more prevalent in young babies, children, as well as the elderly. 

Food poisoning is not fatal. However, a certain form of food poisoning like botulism can be fatal if not quickly treated. Botulism is caused by a bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium produces toxins that can impact negatively on the body’s nervous system. Botulism can lead to a blurred vision, drooping eyelids, and slurred speech. If you suspect that you have botulism, you are advised to seek immediate medical attention.

Dehydration: The Symptoms

Food poisoning and gastro can lead to dehydration. You should watch out for these dehydration symptoms:

• Passing little or no urine
Dry mouth and throat
• Dizziness when standing
• Very dry diapers
• Little or no tears in babies or toddlers
• Reduced blood pressure
• Dark urine
• Sunken eyes in babies

Gastro: The Causes

Gastro is caused by bacteria in poorly prepared food, coming in contact with an infected person, and drinking contaminated water. The bacteria that can cause gastro are NorovirusRetrovirus, and Adenovirus.

How can you get the stomach bug?

Gastro is highly contagious. You can get if from touching a contaminated object and taking poorly prepared food. Food poisoning will result if the food comes in contact with infectious organisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

You can get food poisoning from poorly cooked food like raw meat. However, meat isn't the only type of food that can cause food poisoning. You can also get food poisoning through eating undercooked eggs and raw sprouts. Other foods that can cause foodborne infection are soft and unpasteurized cheeses like Brie and feta, improperly washed fruits and vegetables, undercooked rice, raw fish, and oysters. Moreover, it's highly likely to catch the stomach bug if you have ingested contaminated water, drinks, and unpasteurized beverages like milk and cider.