swine flu symptoms and food poisoning

Food Poisoning or Flu? How to Tell the Difference

The two can trigger similar symptoms, but knowing the difference will help keep you healthy.

Food Poisoning or Flu? How to Tell the Difference

An upset stomach and other flulike symptoms could signal bad mayo, not swine flu.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—A few weeks ago, the Salinas, CA–based company, Tanimura & Antle voluntarily recalled shipments of romaine lettuce, due to potential Salmonella contamination. No one was sickened by the recalled products, but that’s not surprising: Despite all the attention these recalls get in the media, neither E. coli nor Salmonella are the number one cause of food poisoning in this country. That distinction falls to norovirus, a viral infection that is often confused with the flu because it causes similar symptoms. As we move towards a potentially difficult flu season, knowing how to tell an influenza infection from a case of flulike food poisoning will be more important than ever.

THE DETAILS: Norovirus, a.k.a. Norwalk-like virus, is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness in the U.S., responsible for nearly 50 percent of food poisoning cases in the country. It’s often mistakenly called the stomach flu, despite the fact that it isn’t caused by the influenza virus. The symptoms are very similar to the flu and include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Some people also complain of fever and chills. The virus is highly contagious and is generally spread by infected food handlers.

WHAT IT MEANS: Because the symptoms of norovirus are so similar to those of the flu, it’s easy to confuse the two. And considering that fears over swine flu are reaching their peak, it’s important not to overreact when you start to feel a queasy stomach. Knowing how ID a likely norovirus infection makes it easier to avoid a repeat of the experience, if you can link the episode to what (or where) you ate. Norovirus symptoms usually occur 24 to 48 hours after exposure, but sometimes begin as early as 12 hours after.

Filed Under: FOOD SAFETY

Published on: August 4, 2009

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I think

I think it is a misunderstanding only.
BBQ Online

So not what headline suggested

This article had nothing to do with how to tell the difference, like the title suggested, and just told basic tips on how to avoid catching norovirus. BAD!!!!!!!!1

Expected More

Really? You didn't even answer the question poised in the headline. Disappointing.

Needs to be clarified more

While I appreciate the effort made here, and understand that it may be difficult to clarify medical issues in abridged form, I would urge you to do a little better job next time. This article grabbed my attention right away but did very little to answer my questions and concerns. You have the opportunity to educate here, something that many people need regarding the pandemic.

"stomach flu"

True influenza in a respiratory illness and has nothing to do with the digestive system. This is what you should be explaining to your readers.

shame on you!!!

Like all the previous comments, I, too, feel "robbed" of information. This is a bait and switch headline, if I have ever read one!!! Shame on you for jumping on the Swine Flu Panic bandwagon to increase readership with InfoFluff.

Do all cases of Swine Flu cause respiratory AND stomach problems? Sometimes, and not ALL the time? Or, are these two mutually exclusive?

And how the heck will anyone be able to tell if they have a regular flu vs. H1N1? How does a physician even tell between the two?

Is it true that the gov't only allowed a complete test for H1N1, if the patient was hospitalized? (In other words, the ONLY true tests done for H1N1 were of hospitalized patients?)

If you're going to add to the Swine Flu Panic, at least give your readers FACTS.

you can do better

Really an inferior article. Doesn't clarify what to look for and offers superficial suggestions to prevent contacting anything.


I agree with the above respondants.....this article is most
confusing. PLEASE clarify how to ID the two.

Isn't "flu" a respiratory illness and "stomach bug" a virus?

I think you've just perpetuated a misunderstanding.

I'm confused too

How do I tell flu/food poisoning/norovirus apart -- only after the fact by how long it lasts?

unclear article

I don't think this article is very clear on how to differentiate the 2. does it mean that if you have nausea, vomitting and cramps between 12-48 hours, it is more likely the norovirus. YOu didnt really say what symptoms/timing should clue you into the stomach flu? Is there such a thing as the stomach flu? help

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