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Stomach Flu vs. Food Poisoning

It’s that time of year when tummy bugs seem to be going around. But maybe this time it isn’t the flu or a virus. Food poisoning is another illness that can give those little tummies troubles.  Just a few little bacteria from a mindless cross-contaminator of raw meat, or someone forgetting to wash their hands and bam!  Both issues can mean sickness for the entire family.

So how do you know the difference and why does it matter? Food poisoning can be really hard on kids’ systems, and needs to be more closely monitored than in adults. They can get dehydrated fast, and if it’s a particularly nasty strain of bacteria, say like botulism, they need to get to their pediatrician or visit AllKids Pediatric Urgent Care in either Mesa or Gilbert today.

Symptoms of Tummy Trouble

The main symptoms are the same for both an infection and food poisoning.  They include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever, and abdominal cramping.

It can take 6-12 hours for food poisoning to hit the system after ingestion.  So, if your kid goes to bed feeling fine, but wakes up vomiting in the middle of the night – it could be food poisoning.  A bug is more likely to travel from one family member to the next with a bit of an overlap.

You’ve heard of the 24 hour bug, right?  That was probably food poisoning as flu and other viruses last days or even weeks – not one measly night.   A bug is also more likely to produce a dull ache, while food poisoning will send sharp, stabbing pains to your child’s middle.

Help at Home

Having an irritated tummy, regardless of how it happened, can be treated at home in similar ways.  Stay hydrated, stick to a bland diet, back rubs, cool compresses, and comforting words can help your miserable little one.

No matter the cause, if symptoms last for several days, are accompanied by a fever, or there is blood in the stool, you need to call a doctor right away.  The biggest worry with kids and food poisoning is dehydration, so call your pediatrician or head to urgent care if your child’s mouth or throat is so dry they are having trouble swallowing or breathing or if they spike a fever over 100.

Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care and Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care

It can be scary any time your child is sick, but rest assured that AllKids Urgent Care is here to help guide you every step of the way with a caring and knowledgeable pediatric staff. Both our Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care and our Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care  are open every day, from noon to 10 p.m. No appointment is necessary, just stop in and start your child on the road back to health.

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