Will You Get Sick If You Ate Raw Chicken?

So, what if you ate chicken raw, are there chances of getting sick?

There is a high chance that you may fall sick if you eat raw chicken. This is because raw chicken has been associated with several health conditions. It is best to ensure your chicken is cooked properly before eating it.

In this article, I will talk about the chances of getting sick if you unknowingly or intentionally ate raw chicken, how to ensure your chicken is properly cooked, what to do if you eat raw chicken, and when to see the doctor.

Overview of raw chicken

According to Healthline, many chickens sold in the United States have one or both salmonella or campylobacter.

When you eat this chicken in raw or undercooked forms, you risk getting exposed to food poisoning.

But when you cook chicken properly, these bacteria are killed and the meat is safe to eat.

What happens when you eat raw chicken?

If you ate raw or undercooked chicken, your chances of falling sick are pretty high. The US Department of Agriculture recommends that all chicken be cooked to at least 165°F.

So, if you ate raw or undercooked chicken, see a few health challenges you may experience:

1. Salmonella infection

Salmonella or salmonellosis is a digestive tract infection found in all animals, especially chickens. While most of them are inactive or harmless, some are capable of causing infection in the intestine tract of humans.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), salmonella infects over 1.35 million people per annum. With over 26,500 being hospitalized and over 420 death cases.

Some common symptoms of salmonella infection include:

  • Fever (typhoid and enteric)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea (bloody in some cases)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Gastroenteritis.

The CDC further states that the symptoms of salmonella may occur between 12 hours to 3 days after exposure. However, these symptoms do not last more than 6 days.

2. Campylobacter infection

Campylobacter, also known as campylobacteriosis, is a bacteria infection that animals contact from drinking contaminated water.

When humans come in contact with this infection, (most times through eating) it can have adverse effects.

Many people believe that the main infection gotten from raw chicken is salmonella. However, the CDC affirms that campylobacter infects up to 1.5 million people yearly.

The symptoms of campylobacter include:

  • Diarrhea (which may sometimes be bloody)
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramp
  • GBS (Gillian barre syndrome).

According to the CDC, the symptoms of campylobacter start after 2 to 3 days of intake. And the symptoms do not exceed 6 days.

3. Clostridium perfringens

Clostridium perfringens usually occur when food is left cold or too long at room temperature. However, this bacteria is also present in raw or undercooked chicken.

The symptoms of this bacteria infection include stomach cramps and diarrhea. In rare cases, vomiting or fever is also experienced. This infection symptom occurs as quickly as 6 hours and ends in 24 hours.

What do you do if you eat raw or undercooked chicken?

Stay hydrated when you’re diarrheic. Take water, sports drinks, clear broth, diluted fruit juice, and oral rehydration solutions.

Do not try to force or induce vomiting. Doing this may harm your gut, and it doesn’t stop the illness.

Also, you might require antibiotic treatment if you fall within these categories of people:

  • Older adults (especially those over the age of 65 years)
  • Pregnant women
  • Nursing mother
  • Infants or children under the age of 5 years
  • Those with a weakened immune system.

Anyone who falls into these categories may require mild over-the-counter treatment to relieve the symptoms.

Such medications include Loperamide to ease diarrhea and Bismuth Subsalicylate to ease nausea.

Seek the doctor’s counsel if:

  • symptoms become more severe and persist for more than a week
  • you notice bloody stools, a high fever over 102°F with little or no urination
  • you are vomiting so frequently
  • dizziness and diarrhea exceed three days

How can you tell if a chicken is raw or undercooked?

Knowing if a chicken is properly cooked is the first step in avoiding food-borne illnesses. Below are some ways to detect raw or undercooked chicken:

1. Color

Raw or undercooked chicken has a pinkish color which changes to white when it is cooked thoroughly. If your chicken is pink, it’s most likely undercooked.

2. Use a meat thermometer

Another way to know if a chicken is well cooked is by using a food thermometer. This can be done by inserting the thermometer into a thick section of the chicken.

A temperature less than 165°F means the chicken is still undercooked.

3. Checking the juices

You can check the color of the juice running out of the chicken. If the juice is white and clear, then it is properly cooked. However, red juice is a sign that it is probably still undercooked.


How long until raw chicken goes bad in the refrigerator?

Raw chicken can last up to 2 days in the refrigerator before it goes bad. It can also stay up to a year in the freezer.

How soon after eating raw chicken will symptoms occur?

The symptoms may occur anywhere between 12 hours to 2 days after ingestion. However, the symptoms should disappear after seven days.

Can you get sick from eating just one bite of raw chicken?

Eating even a small bite of raw or undercooked chicken can cause food poisoning. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

Can chicken color be white and undercooked?

Yes, it can. Some chicken can be white on the outside and undercooked inside. The best way to confirm the doneness level of a chicken is by using the meat-read thermometer.


There are high chances of getting sick after eating raw or undercooked chicken. This could range from vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and fever.

While there is no known treatment, you can take some antibiotics to ease the symptoms. However, if the symptoms persist for over one week, you should see the doctor for proper counseling.

I hope you enjoyed this article.

Thanks for reading.

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