How to distinguish food poisoning from intestinal infection
The use of not only contaminated food products will lead to the development of acute diseases of the digestive system. Sometimes it is enough to eat a small amount of fresh food with an unexplored shelf life, and the disease will still hit the stomach or intestines. There are such similar diseases, but at first glance there are still minor differences.
How to distinguish food poisoning from intestinal infections? The difference is not only in the pathogen, there are several key features that these painful processes differ in.
What is intestinal infection
Intestinal infections are a large group of diseases, including some acute infectious diseases caused by the following pathogens:
- salmonella - typhoid, paratyphoid, salmonellosis;
- Shigella - dysentery;
- Escherichia coli - escherichiosis;
- viruses - rotavirus infection.
The main symptom that unites all these diseases is the development of acute inflammation of one of the sections of the gastrointestinal tract, due to infection with an infectious agent. That is, the main role here is played by microorganisms - bacteria or viruses. Each of them affects its department of the digestive system. As a rule, it is the stomach, small intestine or large intestine, to which they have yet to “reach.” Therefore, most often infections develop after a few hours, and in some cases more than a day after infection.
Food poisoning is an acute short-term disease, the development of which involves opportunistic microorganisms or their metabolic products - toxins. So, it often happens - after a long stay of the finished product in inappropriate conditions (in the sun, or a day without a refrigerator), some microorganisms begin to multiply and release harmful particles - toxins. Normally, a small amount of these bacteria or viruses does not harm a person. But after death or in a certain critical amount they cause food poisoning.
What is the difference between food poisoning and intestinal infection? In case of food poisoning, the pathogen itself may be absent, that is, the bacteria may die during heat treatment, but their toxins lead to intoxication. Often, these are finished products purchased in cooking or cafeterias. Another category of products is two- or three-day soups, dishes left after the party. The first dishes, despite re-boiling, are already seeded with microorganisms. Repeated heat treatment will kill bacteria, but after destruction, their metabolic products remain, which are more resistant to high temperatures and cannot be destroyed in the usual way.
An example would be:
- Klebsiella and many other microorganisms that produce enterotoxins.
Food poisoning and intestinal infections are equally unpleasant diseases, bringing a lot of trouble with health. Sometimes, from the first symptoms, it is difficult to determine what a person is infected with without seeing a specialist and prescribing special studies. After all, food poisoning and intestinal infections are very similar.
First of all, the digestive system is affected. Any of the departments may be involved in a painful process: the stomach, small or large intestines.
- All these diseases occur cyclically. In each of them there are several main periods: incubation, the height of the disease, remission.
- The general transmission mechanism is through infected products.
- Symptoms in most cases are similar: nausea, repeated vomiting, pain in the stomach and intestine, cramping pain, impaired stool (diarrhea).
- In connection with the sharp loss of fluid from the body and due to the influence of toxins of bacteria after several hours involved in the disease process and other organ systems. Reacts the cardiovascular and nervous system. There are dizziness, frequent or rare pulse, weakness, changes in blood pressure.
After this characteristic of each type of disease, it becomes unclear what their differences are. What is more severe intestinal infection or food poisoning? It all depends on the case. Despite the same manifestations, there are significant differences.
What is the difference between food poisoning and intestinal infection?
It is sometimes difficult even for an experienced doctor to determine which disease a person has from the first time. But special methods of research help in medicine: bacterial crops and general analyzes. Ordinary people do not have the ability to determine at home what disease they are prone to. Therefore, you need to know the typical distinguishing features of each process.
All frequent intestinal infections occur with a long incubation period. This is the period in the course of the disease when a person feels a general malaise, and there are no typical, pronounced clinical manifestations. In a bacterial or viral infection, this period lasts up to two weeks. Food poisoning begins a few hours after the reception of low-quality product. So, it happens in connection with the presence in the latter case of already isolated toxins (it is they that accelerate the course of the disease). With the development of intestinal infections, toxins are released several hours after the microorganisms enter the stomach.
- More often, food poisoning affects the upper digestive tract - the stomach and the initial sections of the small intestine. In cases with intestinal infections, pathologies are more susceptible to the small and large intestines.
- How to distinguish food poisoning from rotavirus infection? In the latter case, the source of infection is more often children older than two years, all the digestive systems are involved in the disease: stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, then rumbling and soreness in the stomach, diarrhea.
- Different body temperature rises. In the case of food poisoning, it can increase slightly, to a maximum of 37–39 ° C during the first hours of the disease with a gradual decrease. In intestinal infections, the temperature can reach a maximum after 2–3 days and rise to large numbers (40 ° C).
- Uncomplicated food poisoning does not last long — 1-3 days; a person recovers faster. Intestinal infection lasts a long time in some cases more than 10 days.
The final and complete diagnosis can be made only after a study in a hospital. People with suspected severe food poisoning or intestinal infection should be hospitalized in the infectious disease ward for proper treatment.
Food poisoning and infections can imitate each other, hiding behind the same symptoms. In rare cases, you can immediately identify their differences. This will take time, which a person often does not have. Therefore, at the first signs of any of these diseases, it is better to immediately contact a specialist.