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What should you know about food poisoning?

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Getting sick from eating food that has germs, viruses, or parasites is more common than you might think. An estimated 48 million Americans, that's one out of every six, come down with food poisoning every year. Most get better on their own without medical treatment. You may have symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea within hours of eating. But sometimes the symptoms can take days or more than a week to show up. That can make it hard to know if it's food poisoning or something else. The delay also makes it tricky to trace the illness back to the specific food or drink. The same food can affect people differently. Some may feel unwell after just a few bites. Others can eat a lot and have no reaction at all. Food poisoning is both more common and riskier for people with weakened immune systems, infants and young children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Food Poisoning," "Food Poisoning Symptoms," "Food Poisoning: Causes."

UpToDate: "Patient education: Food poisoning (foodborne illness) (Beyond the Basics)."

CDC: "Burden of Foodborne Illness: Findings," "Foodborne Germs and Illnesses."

FDA: "Foodborne Illnesses: What You Need to Know."

U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Foodborne Illness: What Consumers Need to Know," "Foodborne Illness Peaks in Summer -- Why?" "Cooking for Groups: A Volunteer's Guide to Food Safety."

Foodsafety.gov: "Salmonella," "Clostridium perfringens," "Norovirus (Norwalk Virus)," "Campylobacter," "E. coli," "Listeria."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on May 25, 2019

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Food Poisoning," "Food Poisoning Symptoms," "Food Poisoning: Causes."

UpToDate: "Patient education: Food poisoning (foodborne illness) (Beyond the Basics)."

CDC: "Burden of Foodborne Illness: Findings," "Foodborne Germs and Illnesses."

FDA: "Foodborne Illnesses: What You Need to Know."

U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Foodborne Illness: What Consumers Need to Know," "Foodborne Illness Peaks in Summer -- Why?" "Cooking for Groups: A Volunteer's Guide to Food Safety."

Foodsafety.gov: "Salmonella," "Clostridium perfringens," "Norovirus (Norwalk Virus)," "Campylobacter," "E. coli," "Listeria."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on May 25, 2019

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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