Which people are most at risk of food poisoning?

There are people who are more likely to suffer from food poisoning or that their illness is more serious. Food poisoning is an illness transmitted by food that is contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or other substances.

Raw foods of animal origin are the most likely to be contaminated, specifically raw or undercooked meat and poultry, raw or lightly cooked eggs, unpasteurized (raw) milk, and raw shellfish. Fruits and vegetables can also become contaminated.

Many different germs that can contaminate food could make you sick. Among the most common germs are Salmonella, Norovirus, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus aureus (staph), E. coli, Listeria, and Cryptosporidium.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), People at risk of food poisoning include:

1. People with weakened immune systems

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People with weakened immune systems cannot fight germs and disease as effectively. This includes people receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy; with organ transplantation; diabetes; liver or kidney disease; alcoholism; HIV AIDS; and autoimmune diseases.

Those with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a longer illness, be hospitalized, or even die if they get a foodborne illness.

2. Children under 5 years of age

Sick kid
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Young children have a developing immune systemso your body’s ability to fight germs and disease is not as strong.

Besides, children produce less stomach acid, which kills harmful bacteriaSo they get sick more easily.

The CDC warns that children under the age of 5 are three times more likely to be hospitalized if they contract a Salmonella infection.

Kidney failure affects 1 in 7 children under the age of 5 who are diagnosed with E. coli infection.

3. Adults from 65 years

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As people age, their Your immune system and organs do not recognize and kill harmful germs as well as they used to.

The liver and kidneys may no longer be able to properly expel toxins and foreign bacteria from the body. Also the stomach may no longer produce enough acid to kill off harmful bacteria.

Nearly half of people aged 65 are hospitalized or more who have a foodborne illness confirmed in the laboratory by Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria or E. coli

4. Pregnant women

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Pregnant women are more likely than other people to get sick from certain germs. These diseases can be worse and even cause spontaneous abortions or premature births.

Certain foodborne illnesses, such as Listeria and Toxoplasma gondii can infect the fetus even if the mother does not feel sick.

In infants, T. gondii can cause hearing loss, intellectual disability and blindness, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some children may develop brain or eye problems years after birth.

Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to contract a Listeria infection.

Basic Food Safety Steps

Anyone can get sick from eating contaminated food. Always follow these four steps for food safety.

Clean: Wash your hands and wipe down surfaces frequently.

Pull apart: Separates raw meat and poultry from ready-to-eat foods.

Cook: cooks food at the right temperature.

Refrigerate: Immediately refrigerate raw meat and poultry as well as any cooked leftovers (within 2 hours).

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