If you experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, you may be wondering if the cause is food poisoning, stomach flu or COVID-19. These conditions share similar symptoms, although there are some important differences between them.
Read on to learn more about the symptoms of food poisoning, stomach flu and COVID-19, and how to determine what condition you have. You will also learn how to treat each condition, when to seek medical attention, and how to test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
To determine what is causing your gastrointestinal symptoms, it is important to consider factors such as severity, accompanying symptoms, and possible causes. You may need to take a test to get a diagnosis.
Typical food poisoning symptoms
Eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasites can cause food poisoning.
Usually the symptoms are mild to moderate and get better within a week, with or without treatment. However, severe and chronic (long-term) cases may require hospitalization.
Typical symptoms of stomach flu
A viral infection causes stomach flu, called viral gastroenteritis. Usually the symptoms occur 1 to 3 days after exposure to the virus and improve within 1 to 3 days.
As you can see, the stomach flu can give you many of the same symptoms as food poisoning, but with additional pain in joints and muscles due to the viral infection.
Typical COVID-19 symptoms
People who evolve COVID-19 from SARS-CoV-2 can have a wide range of symptoms that are mild to severe. Symptoms usually occur 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
Gastrointestinal symptoms often occur in the early stages of COVID-19. They may occur before respiratory symptoms.
Unlike food poisoning or stomach flu, COVID-19 usually causes respiratory symptoms as well as gastrointestinal. If you have developed a cough or experience a lack of taste or smell, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor and be tested for SARS-CoV-2.
For the treatment of mild to moderate food poisoning or stomach flu, there are several home remedies you can try.
Home remedies for the treatment of food poisoning and stomach flu include:
- Remains hydrated. Symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Intake plenty of water and beverages with electrolytessuch as coconut water, fruit juices and sports drinks.
- Use of a heating pad. To relieve abdominal pain and relax the abdominal muscles, place a heating pad on the abdomen for 15 minutes at a time.
- Consume ginger and mint. Ginger and mint can help relieve nausea. You can take the herbs in supplement form or drink them in tea.
- Drink herbal tea. Drink licorice, fennel and chamomile tea to soothe and soothe your stomach.
If you have symptoms of dehydration, severe symptoms, or symptoms that do not improve within a few days, visit a healthcare professional.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- decreased urination
- dry mouth, lips or throat
- dizziness when standing
- extreme thirst
See a healthcare professional if you have severe symptoms such as:
- bloody diarrhea
- high fever (103 ° F or 39.4 ° C or higher)
- frequent vomiting, which can cause dehydration
- diarrhea lasting longer than 3 days
If youare concerned about visiting a doctor’s office or hospital due to the possibility of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, you can take precautions to maximize your safety by:
- wearing mask
- keep a distance of 6 feet
- use rubbing alcohol regularly
- Schedule your appointment in the morning, as the waiting and exam rooms will probably be the cleanest
Healthcare professionals and staff also take precautions, most of which are fully vaccinated. Some precautions they can take include:
- regular cleaning and disinfection of clinics
- spaces out of appointments to minimize the number of people in the waiting room
- allows you to completely skip the waiting room
- performs tests and other procedures in the exam room instead of having you visit several places, in some cases
A quick self-test involving a nose graft will give quick results. Laboratory tests involving saliva or a nasal swab give results within 1 to 3 days. Usually, laboratory tests are more accurate than self-tests.
While youwaiting for the results of your test, itIt is a good idea to stay at home, both to quarantine and to take care of yourself. Home treatments for COVID-19 similar to treatments for other viruses and includes:
- get plenty of rest
- remains hydrated
- takes prebiotics and probiotics for the treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms
- taking acetaminophen to relieve headaches, body aches and fever
- apply an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time to reduce fever
Some symptoms of food poisoning, stomach flu and COVID-19 are similar, which can make it difficult to determine what condition you have. In most cases, people can treat food poisoning or stomach flu by resting, staying hydrated and using home remedies.
If your symptoms are severe or do not improve within a few days, make an appointment with a healthcare professional. They can give you an accurate diagnosis, determine if there are any underlying causes, and choose the best course of treatment.
If you think your symptoms are from COVID-19, follow the usual precautions and isolate yourself. Take a test as soon as possible.