Know the Symptoms
Flu or Food Poisoning?
Was it something you ate or a sign of the flu?
Sometimes it's not always easy to tell the difference between foodborne illness and influenza, especially since both show similar symptoms.
Influenza, commonly called "the flu," is caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract. Foodborne disease, referred to as food poisoning, is carried or transmitted to humans by food containing harmful substances.
Flu vs. Food Poisoning
|Body aches and pains||Common: headache and muscle aches||Common: headache, backache and stomach cramps|
|Fatigue||Common (and often extreme)||Common (and often extreme)|
|Gastrointestinal||Rarely prominent*||Common (often severe)|
|Gastrointestinal: Nausea||Rarely prominent*||Common|
|Gastrointestinal: Diarrhea||Rarely prominent*||Common|
|Respiratory: Chest discomfort, cough||Common (often extreme, can become severe)||Rare|
|Respiratory: Nasal congestion, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose||Common||Rare|
|Ways to Prevent or Lessen Risk ||Annual Vaccination ||Proper Food Handling |
*Although nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can sometimes accompany influenza infection, especially in children, gastrointestinal symptoms are rarely prominent.
For more information, visit HomeFoodSafety.org.