The Bacteria That Refuses To Go Away
It's not uncommon to turn on the TV or click on a news website and hear about another salmonella outbreak. In the second installment of the foodborne illness series, we're going to discuss what salmonella is, where it comes from and steps you can take to minimize your chances of infection.
What Is Salmonella
You might be surprised to learn that "Salmonella" is named for an entire genus of bacteria - there are 2000 separate species of this pesky germ. The digestive tracts of birds, animals and even humans are where they commonly hang out.
Why Is Salmonella Dangerous?
People infected with salmonella can become very sick. That's because the germs enter into the body, causing an illness called enteritis; Salmonella then attacks the host's cells, getting inside them so they can produce more bacteria.
Salmonella is contagious and is often transmitted in fecal matter. The bacteria is contagious and can be found on contaminated fruits, vegetables, milk, beef, poultry, eggs, and even frozen foods. The bacteria is often transmitted through humans when an infected person who doesn't wash his or her hands prepares food, or touches another person.
The bacteria is most troublesome during the summer, but it can be dangerous at other times, too.
What Are The Symptoms Of Salmonella Poisoning?
Salmonella is a bad bacteria but fortunately there are warning signs of salmonella food poisoning including"
- muscle ache
- stomach cramps
- nausea and dehydration
According to government health officials, salmonella enteritis usually lasts between 4- 7 days and most people fully recover from the ordeal. But sometimes the disease can be deadly. Very young children, and people with weaked immune systems are most vulnerable to salmonella infection.
While health care workers and public health officials are making progress with reducing other types of foodborne illness infections, cases of Salmonella food poisoning continue to rise.
As far as foodborne pathogens go, Salmonella is the worst of the bunch.
Salmonella Can Be Prevented
(The image "Roasted chicken" from wikipedia.)
Health officials suggest that people who are infected with Salmonella drink plenty of liquids to replenish the body's supply of fluids. Government health experts also tell us that there are several precautions the public can take to minimize the chances of infection.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before handling foods.
- Thoroughly cook whole meats at a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook ground beef at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook poultry at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep buffet foods at a temperature above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods.
- Keep the refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Refrigerate foods that are likely to spoil.
- Use a microwave to defrost frozen foods.
- Thoroughly wash cutting boards, utensils and countertops.
- Rinse raw poultry in cold water before cooking it.
- Avoid consuming raw meat, poultry and milk.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
- Don't use meat and poultry cutting boards to prepare cheese, raw vegetables and other foods.
Just because food looks clean doesn't mean that it is clean. Washing food before eating can get rid of harmful germs.
Salmonella is a pesky little bug, but we can protect ourselves and our loved ones if we stay vigilant and practice good hygiene.
God is the mightiest avenger.
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CDC Features - Salmonella Is A Sneaky Germ: 7 Tips for Safer Eating. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/VitalSigns/FoodSafety/
Illinois Department of Public Health Health Beat Salmonella. http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbsam.htm
Salmonella - wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmonella
"Salmonella - The Pesky Foodborne Bug" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.