A stomach bug is also known as Stomach flu while its technical term is viral gastroenteritis. This type of sickness is an inflammation of the intestines and stomach that is normally caused by viral infection. Food poisoning, on the other hand, is different but almost similar to a stomach bug. Studies and medical reports have claimed that around 48 million people usually experience food poisoning annually. These conditions may require medical treatment, so it is advisable to consult with your doctor.

I am going to provide comprehensive details on the difference between food poisoning and stomach bug from their symptoms to possible prevention.


Stomach Bug

If you experience stomach bug, you may exhibit the following symptoms.

  • difference between food poisoning and stomach bugDiarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Intestinal or stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint aches
  • Headache
  • Thirst
  • General malaise

Note that, the incubation period of stomach bug symptoms normally occurs within 24-72 hours of being directly exposed to the virus. The more you experience these symptoms, the more you should consult your doctor for more medical advice or rather ruling out other illness or any complications.

Food poisoning

Symptoms of sickness include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal or stomach cramping
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Thirst
  • General malaise
  • In extreme cases you may experience:
  • Vomit or bloody stool
  • Shock
  • Severe abdominal cramping

The incubation period of food poisoning can be within either hours, days or weeks after original exposure. This normally relies on the pathogen that causes food poisoning.


Stomach bug

This type of sickness is caused by a viral infection. The viruses that mostly cause stomach bug include rotavirus, adenovirus, and norovirus.

Food poisoning

It normally develops when pathogens like parasites, viruses or bacteria contaminate foods. Bacteria like Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus are major causes of food poisoning. Norovirus is also a contributor to this illness.


Stomach bug   

  • Always clean your hands if you have been near a sick person or if you are sick
  • Consult your physician concerning the vaccine for Rotavirus
  • Isolate yourself from other people if you are infected

Food poisoning    

  • Always ensure that the equipment and preparation area of food is ever clean
  • Fully cook seafood and meats
  • Refrigerate perishable foods
  • Discard doubtful food

It is always advisable to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of stomach bug and food poisoning for treatment.