A gravely ill woman

Do I Have Stomach Flu Signs or Something Worse?

The stomach flu is a common, but unpleasant intestinal infection. Because symptoms are similar to other illnesses it can sometimes be hard to tell exactly what is making you sick. Here is a look at what your symptoms are telling you.  

Stomach Flu Signs

The stomach flu attacks your intestines, causing several symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or both
  • Muscle aches or headache
  • Low-grade fever

The Stomach Flu or Something More? 

Symptoms are caused by a number of different viruses. However, one of the most common is the norovirus. It affects both children and adults and spreads through families and communities, especially groups in confined spaces.
The norovirus can also cause food poisoning, though. Symptoms are similar to the stomach flu, but begin hours after eating contaminated food, while stomach flu takes a day or two to show up. One way to tell if you have food poisoning or the stomach flu is to see if other people who have eaten the same thing as you become ill. 

Food poisoning symptoms can also be severe and serious. If you have any of the following symptoms you should call your doctor immediately: bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, severe vomiting, and a high fever.

Last Updated: May 18, 2016

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