When you’re in the midst of the misery of vomiting, diarrhea or both, it may not feel like it matters whether what you’re suffering from is food poisoning or the flu – but it does.
When illness is a result of pathogens in the food that we’ve eaten, health authorities need to know that so that they can take action regarding food that has been kept improperly or that has been contaminated by unhygienic handling.
How big a problem is food poisoning in the United States? According to the Centers for Disease Control, food poisoning takes a significant annual toll, with 48 million sicknesses, 128,000 of which are serious enough to require hospitalization.
Even more alarming is the fact that there are a reported 3,000 deaths attributed to food poisoning in the United States every year, and that even as high as those numbers are, they are probably inaccurate: food poisoning is often mistaken for the flu, and people fail to seek treatment unless their symptoms become severe.
People Often Think Food Poisoning is A Stomach Bug
Speaking on the difference between food poisoning and a virus, microbiologist Alex Berezow,
If you’re not sure whether you have food poisoning or the flu, a good clue is whether anybody that you’ve eaten with or who has eaten the same food that you did is also having the same symptoms. If you get sick enough to require medical care, it is important that you let your health care practitioner know about what you’ve eaten, as when food poisoning occurs the authorities may need to be notified in order to stop the spread of foodborne pathogens.