As the weather heats up, barbeques and cookouts become more common. It is important to understand the cause of and tips to avoid Salmonella poisoning.
What exactly is Salmonella?
Salmonella is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States. This bacteria can be found in raw poultry, eggs, beef and unwashed produce. It can contaminate any food.
How does Salmonella spread?
This bacteria can spread from feces of people or animals, causing salmonellosis, an infection of the intestinal tract from the bacteria.
What are the symptoms of Salmonella poisoning?
Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever and headache. This can last anywhere from four days to a week.
Who is most at risk of contracting the illness? Salmonellosis can be serious in the elderly, infants and those with weak immune systems. Most people who contract the bacteria do not need treatment but if the germs get into the bloodstream, they can be lethal.
When should I seek medical attention? Symptoms that require healthcare are severe diarrhea that does not clear up in a few days, blood in the stool, severe vomiting, abdominal pain or dehydration. A small number of Salmonella patients develop joint pain, eye irritation and painful urination. This is called Reiter’s syndrome. It can persist for years and lead to chronic arthritis.
How can I avoid Salmonella poisoning?
- Never eat undercooked eggs, meat or poultry.
- Do not cross-contaminate. Use separate cutting boards and knives for raw meat, cooked meat and fresh vegetables. Wash countertops, knives and cutting boards after preparing raw foods.
- Always wash your hands with warm water for 20 seconds after using the bathroom, holding pets or handling uncooked foods or utensils that have touched raw foods.
- Use disposable paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. Wash cloth towels often in hot water in your washing machine.
- Avoid foods that use raw eggs such as some salad dressings (Caesar dressing), homemade ice cream or mayonnaise, cookie dough and cake batter.
- Wash all produce thoroughly.
- Freeze or refrigerate cooked food immediately. Bacteria can develop rapidly after food has been left out for 2 hours or longer.
- Thaw and marinate foods in the refrigerator.
Contact us 24/7 and fill out our free case evaluation form. Keep yourself and your family safe during barbeque season. Visit Record Online for more tips on how to prevent Salmonella poisoning or click here.