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A to Z: Food Poisoning

Food poisoning happens when bacteria (and, sometimes, viruses or other germs) get into food or drinks. 

More to Know

The germs that cause food poisoning include Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella, hepatitis A, and noroviruses

Food poisoning often starts a few hours after eating contaminated food. People have stomach pain, feel sick, throw up, and have diarrhea. They may have headaches, weakness, and fever. 

Food poisoning usually goes away on its own. Most kids get better in a couple of days. 

In a few cases, food poisoning can be bad enough that kids need to go to the doctor or hospital. When kids need medical care, it's usually because of dehydration.

Keep in Mind

Following good food safety practices is the best defense against food poisoning. Washing hands well and often, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food, also helps stop the spread of germs. 

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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