Is your stomach pain from food poisoning or the stomach flu? It can be hard to tell, since both conditions share some symptoms and the two are related, which makes any confusion understandable.

Both food poisoning (foodborne illness) and the so-called stomach flu (technically it’s not the flu virus) fall under the term acute gastroenteritis, a condition in which a virus, bacterium or parasite causes inflammation in the lining of your intestines. That inflammation can lead to unpleasant symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or diarrhea.

“By definition, foodborne illness and stomach flu can present with the same symptoms,” says Rose Taroyan, MD, a family medicine physician at Keck Medicine of USC and an assistant professor of clinical family medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Credit: CDC

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