Salmonella poisoning or salmonellosis is caused by the Salmonella bacteria, which is found in water, soil, raw food, such as eggs and meats, and also animal waste. Salmonella can be transmitted via a number of ways. Improper food handling is an example. Various kinds of animals, including mice, rats, roaches, and pets, like turtles and guinea pigs, also spread the disease-causing organism. Rodents, for example, can contaminate water or food with their droppings. They can also spread bacteria when they gnaw on food or crawl on utensils. An individual or a baby who has salmonellosis can also pass on the causative organism to others because their waste also contains the bacteria. It is therefore very important to take extra precautions because all the different strains of salmonella can make a person sick.
Salmonellosis — Signs and Symptoms
The Salmonella bacterium is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. People who contract the organism can experience nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea, and such symptoms usually occur 12 to 72 hours after infection. Some can have bloody stool or feces too. A healthy person who develops salmonellosis can readily recover. He gets well after about a week with rest, fluids, and maybe prescribed medications as well. However, salmonella poisoning can be very dangerous to some people, particularly the elderly, babies or children, as well as individuals with weak immune systems. Dehydration is a critical issue which may call for hospitalization.
How to Prevent Salmonella Infection
1. Proper Hand Washing
Hand hygiene plays a huge factor in the prevention of salmonellosis. Since salmonella bacteria are spread upon contact, it’s vital for a person to wash his hands thoroughly especially if – he touched animal droppings; he petted or played with an animal; or he used the bathroom. He must also wash his hands before eating or preparing food.
2. Avoid Eating Raw Food
Because salmonella bacteria are present in various kinds of raw food, like eggs, chicken, and meat, a person should avoid eating these kinds of food if he doesn’t want to suffer from food poisoning. Also, before fruits or uncooked vegetables are to be eaten, these should be washed thoroughly. For those who are in the habit of drinking raw or unpasteurized milk, they are taking huge risks with their health.
3. Prepare Food Properly
Proper food preparation greatly helps in avoiding salmonella poisoning. Meats, for instance, must be cooked thoroughly or until the center is no longer red or bloody. Eggs should be cooked until these are no longer runny. Cooking food thoroughly ensures that the harmful bacteria are dead.
4. Segregate Food Items
In order to prevent the salmonella bacteria from spreading, food items must be properly separated. Meats must be placed in plastic containers and these should occupy a designated spot in a freezer. Eggs must also be separated from fruits and vegetables, as well as cooked food or leftovers.
5. Infected Persons Must Not Serve or Prepare Food
An individual who has salmonella must not prepare or serve food to others. Even serving juice drinks or water should be avoided. This protects others from getting infected.
6. Clean Contaminated Items
When there are glasses, plates or other kitchen utensils that have been contaminated with animal feces, these should be thoroughly washed before using. Since contamination can be a regular occurrence especially if there is an ongoing rodent or pest infestation in a house, homeowners must also employ pest control methods to get rid of the pests.
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Claire Lassiter has been writing about pest control for many years. Some of her write-ups have been used by a Minneapolis exterminator that helps people who are burdened with pest infestations.