What is Tomato Flu? Its Symptoms, Causes, Prevention


What is Tomato Flu? Its Symptoms, Causes, Prevention

Tomato flu is a communicable disease that can occur due to the consumption of spoiled or contaminated tomatoes. It is believed that the flu is highly infectious and affects the children between the age group 1-9 years. As the recent outbreak has raised concerns of its awful effect, in this article we’re trying to shed some light on its symptoms, causes and precautions of tomato flu virus. Let’s explore.

Tomato Flu Symptoms

Tomato flu virus symptoms show within a few hours or up to 48 hours after consuming contaminated tomatoes. The most common symptoms include:

  • Gastrointestinal Distress: One of the primary symptoms of tomato flu is gastrointestinal discomfort. This can include stomach cramps, abdominal pain, and a feeling of bloating or fullness.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Many individuals with tomato flu experience nausea, which may be accompanied by vomiting. This can be an attempt by the body to rid itself of the contaminated tomatoes.
  • Diarrhoea: Another common symptom is diarrhoea, which is characterised by loose or watery stools. It can be frequent and may lead to dehydration if not properly managed.
  • Fever: Some people may develop a mild flu tomato fever as a response to the body's immune system fighting off the potential pathogens in spoiled tomatoes.
  • Fatigue and Weakness: Tomato flu can cause general fatigue and weakness. This can result from the body's effort to combat the infection and the loss of fluids through vomiting and diarrhoea.

Tomato Flu Causes

A specific virus does not cause the tomato flu but occurs due to ingesting spoiled or contaminated tomatoes. There are several potential causes for tomato contamination, including:

  • Bacterial Contamination: Tomatoes can harbour harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella or E. coli, if exposed to unhygienic conditions or contaminated water during growth, harvesting, transportation, or storage.
  • Fungal Infection: Fungi, such as moulds, can grow on tomatoes when not stored properly. Eating tomatoes infected with fungi can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort.

Prevention Tips for Tomato Flu

Preventing tomato flu involves taking certain precautions while handling, storing, and consuming tomatoes. Here are some preventive measures to keep in mind:

  • Proper Handling: Wash your hands thoroughly before handling tomatoes. Rinse fresh tomatoes under running water to remove dirt and potential pathogens. Avoid using soaps or detergents, as they can leave behind harmful residues.
  • Storage: Store tomatoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Refrigeration can help slow down the growth of bacteria and fungi. However, it is best to use ripe tomatoes within a few days to minimise the risk of spoilage.
  • Quality Check: Examine tomatoes for signs of spoilage, such as mould, discolouration, or an off-putting odour. Do not consume tomatoes that appear rotten or are excessively soft.
  • Hygienic Practices: Ensure that all utensils, cutting boards, and surfaces that come into contact with tomatoes are clean and sanitised to prevent cross-contamination.

Tomato Flu Treatment

If you experience tomato flu symptoms, managing your condition appropriately is necessary. Here are some treatment options:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhoea. Water, clear broths, and oral rehydration solutions can help replenish lost fluids and electrolytes.
  • Rest: Allow your body to rest and recover. Take it easy and avoid strenuous activities until your symptoms subside.
  • Eat Light, Nutritious Foods: Stick to a bland diet consisting of easily digestible foods such as rice, boiled potatoes, toast, and bananas. These foods can provide essential nutrients without aggravating your digestive system.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Stay away from spicy, fatty, or greasy foods, as they can further irritate your stomach and worsen symptoms.
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Over-the-counter medications, such as anti-diarrheal or anti-nausea medications, can help alleviate specific symptoms. However, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional or pharmacist before using any medication, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.
  • Seek Medical Attention if Needed: If your symptoms are severe, persist for an extended period, or experience signs of dehydration (excessive thirst, dry mouth, reduced urine output), it is essential to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can provide a proper diagnosis to assess your condition and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Is Tomato Flu Dangerous?

Tomato flu is not declared as a life-threatening illness, thus, in most cases one can recover within a few days with rest and proper medical attention. However, you must not ignore the consequences of persistent vomiting and diarrhoea that can pose risk in the children or one with a weaker immune system. Hence, immediate medical attention is recommended if you experience any severe symptom.

Is Tomato Flu Contagious?

No, tomato flu is not contagious. Tomato flu does not happen by a virus or bacteria that can transmit from person to person. It is a condition that occurs when an individual consumes spoiled or contaminated tomatoes. The symptoms of tomato flu are caused by the body's reaction to the toxins or infections in rotten tomatoes. Therefore, you cannot catch tomato flu from someone else or spread it to others. It is important to remember that tomato flu is not a recognized medical condition but rather a term used to describe the gastrointestinal symptoms that can occur after consuming spoiled tomatoes.


While tomato flu is not medically recognised, it describes the symptoms after consuming spoiled or contaminated tomatoes. You can minimise the risk of tomato flu by practising proper handling, storage, and hygiene. Remember to inspect tomatoes for signs of spoilage and promptly discard any that appear rotten. If you experience symptoms, rest well, stay hydrated, and consult a healthcare professional if necessary. Keeping a medical insurance plans by Care Health Insurance handy can cover your medical expenses in case of emergency hospitalisation.

Stay cautious, and enjoy your tomatoes without worries!

>> Also Read: What is Influenza?

Disclaimer - The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.

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