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Chicago food poisoning lawyersThis past year, illness has taken on a new meaning altogether. The wide range of COVID-19 symptoms can leave you thinking that any sense of sickness can be attributed to the virus. With symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, it may be difficult to decipher if your symptoms are a result of COVID-19, the “stomach flu,” or a case of food poisoning. For many, COVID-19 poses a serious risk to themselves or their elderly loved ones, which is why it is critical to know why you are experiencing your symptoms and if your condition is contagious. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is always advisable to seek out proper testing to rule out COVID-19, but there is no definitive test for the stomach flu or food poisoning. Luckily, there are a few differences that can help you determine what the real driver of your symptoms is.

Symptom Differences

While the stomach flu and food poisoning share the symptoms of stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, there is one key difference between the two: the length of the symptoms. The stomach flu is a quick illness and its symptoms only last one to two days, but food poisoning symptoms can last for several days. Those who have the stomach flu are contagious for one to five days, with symptoms appearing for 24 to 48 hours. Food poisoning, though, has symptoms that linger for days on end. The stomach flu is also much more common in the fall and winter months, whereas food poisoning can happen any time of the year.

The Causes

Another way that you can attempt to narrow down what you have is by looking back at your interactions over the past few days. The stomach flu is transmitted from person to person, so if you have a friend or family member who is also feeling under the weather, they may have passed it on to you. If, however, you went out to eat with this person and you both got sick simultaneously, food poisoning may be the culprit. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria in food, typically undercooked meat or improperly washed vegetables. Thus, the meal that you had out last night may have been contaminated and led to your upset stomach. 

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