Allergy Symptoms |Food Poisoning | Allergy

Allergy Symptoms or Food Poisoning?

by Allergy Guy

Many of the symptoms caused by allergies are also similar to food poisoning. This is especially true of stomach upset, diarrhea, and unpleasant side-effects along those lines (see gluten allergy symptoms for some specific examples).

With the possibility of having identical symptoms, how do you know if you really have allergies, or if you are dealing with food poisoning?

First of all, the allergy symptoms are not identical to food poisoning symptoms in most cases. There are often other effects that are not the same as food poisoning.

The main thing to watch out for are the patterns of when you experience the symptoms.

In most cases, food poisoning is a one-off thing. Someone left the meat out of the fridge for too long. The food was contaminated during processing. One of the ingredients went bad, and was added to the dish unnoticed. There are many causes for food spoilage, but they are usually not consistent. In other words, don’t expect that since you got food poisoning from the left-overs last week, that you will get sick every time you eat left-overs.

There could be exceptions. If a particular food processor has poor hygiene standards, or there is a fault in the way food is handled, there could be a raft of consistent food poisoning cases.

But even this is unlikely to be confused with food allergies. First of all, many people will get sick from the same food, but only if from that particular source.

Besides, most first-world countries have food inspection agencies that would discover and stop such problems pretty quickly. In the third world, food tends to come from a large number of small suppliers, so you would expect to experience food poisoning randomly (and more likely from bad water than bad food).

Allergies, on the other hand, tend to cause consistent symptoms in an individual, but not those around them. Even the symptoms themselves vary from person to person, even for the same food allergy.

This is true of allergies and food intolerances.

If you are sick for years on end, suspect food allergies. If you are sick occasionally, suspect food poisoning or some other cause.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gina Valdez March 6, 2010 at 00:49


No one has commented on mushrooms. The first time I had cream of mushroom soup, I threw it all up. Much later I came in contact with one piece of mushroom in a homemade vegetable soup. It burned my mouth so badly that I asked if they had added hot peppers to the soup. Recently I had some lasagna that had mushrooms and had a reaction to that, too. I was sick all night with cramping, diarrhea, gas and nausea. Does anyone else have this problem? I avoid mushrooms as much as possible.


2 mm June 26, 2010 at 13:02

I too am allergic to mushrooms. My allergy started out with diarrhea and vomiting. I avoided mushrooms from then on out. Last night I ordered a sandwich without mushrooms and was mistakenly given mushrooms on the sandwich, and did not realize it until after one bite. I immediately had lip and tongue tingling. I took benadryl but became flushed and my tonge, lips and throat began to swell. I ended up in the ER for treatment. My advice-avoid all contact with mushrooms and double check your food ordered in restaraunts. Also carry over the counter benedryl with you.


3 noShrooms July 7, 2010 at 19:17

Talk to your doctor about carrying an Epipen injector. I have a severe mushroom allergy, and after hearing my symptoms (extreme diarrhea for 3 hours straight after just 1 slice of mushroom….the first time I thought food poisoning, but the 2nd and 3rd time the symptoms were same and I realized I had a food allergy), my allergist told me I was lucky I didn’t go into anaphylaxic shoc or die! He armed me with an Epipen, and I don’t even order food in restaurants if any portion of my food might be prepped in same area as mushrooms or handled by someone who’s gloved hand might have also handled mushrooms. This makes eating out extremely difficult.


4 Guest November 1, 2009 at 08:06

Hi There

I am a male adult of 44. I have had abdominal pains and cramps associated with lower back pain and headaches(severe) since Friday night. I thought it to be diarrhea but also started vomiting I also passed stools not to watery, but the smells from it was very bad. On Saturday I had continous body aches and headaches wit slight fever. On Sunday morning I woke up I had pains in my lower jaw that has also spread to pain in my teeth top and bottom as well as severe pains behind and the lower part of ears both sides. Could this be food poisoning?


5 admin November 2, 2009 at 17:00

Best see your doctor

What you describe could be any number of things.

The only way to find out is see your doctor about it.


6 sick of feeling sick September 20, 2008 at 02:07

gluten allergy

I am 25 years old. I am a wife, a mother of 3 beautiful girls and 2 handsome step sons. my life is surely blessed! everything in my life is perfect….except my health. I have seen numerous doctors throughout my life. they tried to say I had stomach ulcers, stress, anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome….anything related to the stomach…they tried to label me with it. about a year ago I was discussing my problems with a friend of my family. she has celiac’s disease. I had always craved bread and I had once heard the saying that if you crave something a lot you are more likely to be allergic to it. I tried the celiacs gluten free diet and was impressed at how well I felt. the only problem was keeping on top of it and not slipping up. I fell away from it for about a 10 months now. I just started back up on it about 2 weeks ago. it is harder than I ever imagined. tonight I slipped up and I am surely paying for it. I can’t sleep because my stomach is so sick. I hope to find relief from this soon.


7 admin September 20, 2008 at 19:18

I know how you feel

Yup, sounds familiar!

I went through something similar.

Anyhow, you know that a gluten-free diet makes you feel better, and you sure don’t want to feel bad, so whenever you are tempted to eat anything with wheat in it, imagine how sick you will feel. That should help you give it a miss.

Good luck sticking with your diet!

By the way, what is your biggest challenge with the diet? What causes you to slip up?


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