No matter how hard you try to keep them healthy, your child still ends up getting sick. But since the stomach flu and food poisoning share such similar symptoms – diarrhea, fever, vomiting – how do you know which one they have?

One thing to remember is that that influenza and the stomach flu are different. There is no “stomach flu” virus per say, but it is actually the combination of many viruses. The stomach flu is different in that the symptoms are mostly limited to the gastrointestinal tract. It can be difficult spot the differences in these common winter ailments, so here are a few ways to help identify if your child has the stomach flu or food poisoning.

When Did Your Child Get Sick?

A good way to tell if your child has a stomach flu or food poisoning is to think about the timing of the sickness. The stomach flu usually takes around 24-48 hours before someone starts showing symptoms, whereas food poisoning takes around 2-6 hours after consuming bad food.

If your child ate something unusual or out of the ordinary, and started showing symptoms that same day, then food poisoning may be the culprit. You should consider what your child ate within the past day. Anything out of the ordinary? Some of the most common foods that cause food poisoning are raw eggs, raw sprouts, and veggies and fruits that are not washed well. However, if your child becomes sick with 24-48 hours after being around someone who was sick, they probably have the flu.

Are Others You Know Sick?

Another good indicator of the flu or food poisoning is to take note of who else is sick. Are there kids in the neighborhood who are also sick? How many members of your family have fallen ill?

If more than two members of your family are sick at the same time, this is most likely a case of food poisoning. There could have been something not cooked right or something expired that was consumed. Take steps to clean kitchen counters and sinks, eliminating the any E. coli or salmonella (the most common food poisoning sources).

For the flu, only one to two people would be sick at the same time. Because the flu works a little differently, and it usually takes more than 24 hours to start showing symptoms, it is unlikely that your entire family would get sick at the same time. If it is just one person in your family who is sick, it is most likely the flu.

 Is Your Child More Tired than Usual?

Another way to determine if your child has the flu or food poisoning is to take note of how tired they are.  If your child is experiencing food poisoning, they will typically be more tired than usual and will need extra time to rest and let their body recover. This is one of the best remedies for food poisoning because it takes such a toll on the body.

However, whether your child is experiencing symptoms of the stomach flu or food poisoning, it is always best practice to see a doctor. There are certain medications that can be prescribed in order to alleviate symptoms, and depending on which ailment you are experiencing. We also want to help you or your loved one avoid dehydration, which is a common risk factor when it comes to stomach-related issues.

Velocity Urgent Care provides walk-in, extended hours’ service for most minor medical conditions in the Hampton Roads area, including Carrolton, Gloucester, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg. Most insurance plans are accepted, and no appointment is ever needed. Reserve your spot online today!