Food Poisoning Illness or Just the Flu?

by | May 1, 2014

No one likes to get sick. Whether it’s a mildly inconvenient head cold or a serious infection that requires hospitalization, illness is never any fun. While many illnesses can’t be blamed on negligent or intentional acts, individuals or companies can often be held liable for issues like food poisoning illness. First, it’s critical that you understand the difference between food poisoning illness and similar illnesses like the flu.


What’s Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning describes a surprisingly broad collection of illnesses. The severity of food poisoning can vary widely: Whereas many sufferers report only nausea, cramping, and other mild discomfort, others require hospitalization and may suffer life-threatening complications. The organisms that most commonly cause food poisoning include:

  • E. coli, a class of bacteria that thrives in mammalian intestinal tracts
  • Salmonella, another type of bacteria that are typically found in poultry and raw vegetables
  • Listeria, a bacteria that prefer poultry and beef
  • Norovirus, the cause of the “stomach flu”

Despite its name, it’s important to note that “stomach flu” is actually a form of food poisoning.


Food poisoning illness symptoms include but aren’t limited to:

  • Cramps and nausea
  • Bloody or non-bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Partial paralysis
  • Throat pain and difficulty swallowing
  • Dry mouth or excessive salivation

Fever, chills, and sweating are also common symptoms of certain types of food poisoning.


Common Symptoms of the Flu

Generally speaking, flu sufferers also experience nausea, diarrhea, fever, chills, muscle pain and sweating. The more serious food poisoning symptoms, however, don’t usually afflict flu sufferers. If you experience any kind of paralysis or oral issues, you could have a potentially serious form of food poisoning. Such symptoms require immediate medical attention.


What Should You Do When You Get Sick?

At the first signs of distress, you should visit a doctor for a thorough evaluation. While medical professionals aren’t infallible, they should be able to determine the root cause of your illness. If it becomes clear that you’re suffering from food poisoning, you must retrace your steps and determine where you ate or drank the tainted substances. The purveyor of these dangerous consumables could be liable for your illness.

Food poisoning is just one of the many ways in which well-meaning people can suffer as a result of negligence. If you believe that you’ve suffered direct or indirect harm as a result of unsafe food or beverage products, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our personal injury attorneys who can evaluate your claim.