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Recognizing Foodborne Illness

It can be difficult for people to recognize when harmful bacteria in food have made them sick. For instance, it’s hard to tell if food is unsafe, because you can’t see, smell or taste the bacteria it may contain.

Sometimes people think their foodborne illness was caused by their last meal. In fact, there is a wide range of time between eating food with harmful bacteria and the onset of illness. Usually foodborne bacteria take 1 to 3 days to cause illness. But you could become sick anytime from 20 minutes to 6 weeks after eating some foods with dangerous bacteria. It depends on a variety of factors, including the type of bacteria in the food.

Sometimes foodborne illness is confused with other types of illness. If you get foodborne illness, you might be sick to your stomach, vomit, or have diarrhea. Or, symptoms could be flu-like with a fever and headache, and body aches.The best thing to do is check with your doctor. And if you become ill after eating out, also call your local health department so they can investigate.

Foodborne illness can be dangerous, but is often easy to prevent. By following the basic rules of food safety, you can help prevent foodborne illness for yourself and others.


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