Everyone can get foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning. However, some people can get foodborne illness more easily because they aren’t able to fight off disease as well as others. If they become sick with a foodborne illness, these people can face serious health problems.
Foodborne illness is passed to humans by food. Bacteria cause most cases of foodborne illness, which are usually due to improper food handling. But foodborne illness can be prevented through proper food handling and cleanliness.
People who have a foodborne illness often think they have the flu. When people experience headache and stomach ache, it may be dismissed as the “stomach flu” or “twenty-four-hour virus.” But it may be foodborne illness and it can cause severe illness which can be deadly for the elderly, children, diabetics, alcoholics, and individuals whose immune systems are weakened, such as cancer patients.
If you or a family member develop nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or cramps, it could be a foodborne illness. It’s not always easy to tell, since, depending on the illness, symptoms can appear anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 weeks after eating bad food. Most often, though, people get sick within 4 to 48 hours after eating the food in question.
If symptoms are severe or the victim is either very young, elderly, pregnant, or already ill, call a doctor or go to the hospital right away.
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Extension's Communication Team
Wilson, M., 2000, Food Safety for Children, Pregnant Women, Older Adults, and those with Impaired Immune Systems, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-00-37
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