Salmonella Food Poisoning
Not even an hour after a Thanksgiving holiday turkey dinner and after collapsing on the bathroom floor, my wife and I found ourselves in the Emergency Room. She suffered from spasms of uncontrolled vomiting which had caused dehydration, severe headache and an elevated temperature. I was still shivering violently but had stopped vomiting. We both had severe abdominal cramps, nausea and low blood pressure which made inserting the IVs difficult and painful. Bloody diarrhea was an additional symptom we suffered. Managing to get the story out of what had happened during the last few hours it didn’t take long for a final verdict. By 4:00 the next morning, the hospital lab broke the results to us – it was Salmonella food poisoning. The both of us were on heavy medication for the following week.
Don’t let this happen to you!
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, food poisoning causes nearly 76 million illness cases with about 325,000 hospitalizations, and approximately 5,000 deaths yearly. The salmonellae organisms are reportedly responsible for as much as $1 billion in medical costs and lost time from work. Salmonella can be transmitted or consumed principally in raw or under-cooked meats, poultry, eggs or unpasteurized dairy products. This includes foods and condiments made with these products such as mayonnaise, cookie or pastry dough and ice cream. Salmonella can potentially be fatal in young children or the elderly.
Tomato Salmonella Outbreaks
The bacteria can also be found on tomatoes and recent tomato Salmonella outbreaks (Salmonella Saintpaul) have affected more than 165 people in 17 states (click on link above for more information).
Prevent Salmonella Food Poisoning Using These Food Safety Tips
Here are five key food safety tips, which when properly adhered to should keep you and your loved ones free from a Salmonella food poisoning experience. Use these whenever preparing foods and you may be assured of preventing any type of Salmonella or related types of food poisoning.
1. Wash food handling utensils and food preparation surfaces with hot soapy water prior to food preparation. Be sure to clean up food preparation areas and counter tops during foods preparations. After preparing each food course, remember to wash the utensils and food service and food preparation areas thoroughly with hot soapy water. Use running water to clean – NOT a sink or tub of standing water.
2. Always keep raw meats and poultry well apart from any prepared foods. Make sure to rinse vegetables thoroughly under clean, running water. Remember to always clean cutting boards, knives and utensils thoroughly after each food preparation use and before using them again in preparing other foods.
3. Make certain to cook all foods properly and completely, this especially applies all types of meats and poultry
4. Remember to keep meat or poultry refrigerated during defrosting; NEVER allow meats or poultry to unthaw on a counter top or table outside of the refrigerator. When storing foods, be sure to refrigerate these items promptly and don’t allow poultry or meat remain out on the counter.
5. Be aware that certain types of pets can possibly carry the Salmonella bacteria in their feces. Animals like reptiles (turtles, snakes, lizards) and many species of birds (chicks, ducks, parakeets, parrots, macaws, toucans, wrens, sparrows, etc.) are included. It is especially important then, to always wash your hands thoroughly after handling these or any types of animals or pets.
Is Salmonella Contagious?
You might just be wondering whether or not you can catch Salmonella food poisoning from someone else. Well, the short answer is “No, Salmonella is not contagious.” But there is a caveat; in order to contract this form of food poisoning, you normally must consume tainted food. It is possible however, to transfer the bacteria from your hands to your mouth by putting your fingers, unclean cooking or serving utensils or a glove covered with tainted with fluids, in your mouth. It is vitally important to wash your hands often and thoroughly when cooking any of the above mentioned foods. You also need to keep counter tops and other food preparation surfaces clean by washing them with hot, soapy water between preparation of different foods and dishes using running water, NOT in a basin or stopped-up sink of wash water.
For More Information:
For more tips on how to prevent food poisoning in general, please read this article on food poisoning prevention and treatment.