In winter, there is generally a peak in gastroenteritis each year. At the same time, food poisoning, the symptoms of which are similar, can also be contracted. How to differentiate them? Explanations.
At the start of the year, the gastroenteritis epidemic is gradually spreading in Europe. Vomiting, stomach aches, diarrhea… How can you differentiate this condition from food poisoning, which will present essentially the same symptoms?
Gastroenteritis, caused by a virus
The difference between gastroenteritis and food poisoning is their cause. While gastroenteritis is linked to a virus, called rotavirus or adenovirus. Food poisoning will be caused by the consumption of food that is not fresh, or a drink for that matter, contaminated by a pathogenic germ. This could be salmonella, listeria or Escherichia coli, for example.
Symptoms that appear quickly, after a meal
For food poisoning, symptoms will occur shortly after ingesting the contaminated food. Gastroenteritis has a longer incubation time, after contracting the virus, of around 24 hours. It also causes fever more often, which is not the case with food poisoning.
Gastro also lasts longer (48 hours at least) than food poisoning, which passes after 12 to 24 hours. Finally, another sign that allows you to differentiate the two: the number of people affected.
Gastroenteritis will generally contaminate a single person in the same household (who may subsequently contaminate others) while food poisoning will tend to affect several people at the same time, due to consumption of the product. by several people, generally, during a meal.
Beware of dehydration
Food poisoning can also be suspected by observing the stools: in the presence of mucus and blood, it is likely that bacteria is involved. How to treat these pathologies? It is important not to become dehydrated through repeated vomiting and diarrhea.
You must therefore drink well, at least 2L of liquids per day and favor rice or cooked carrots, avoiding dairy products, meat, sugar, fatty foods, etc. In the event of symptoms lasting beyond 48 hours, a medical consultation will be necessary to assess your condition and prescribe the necessary medications.