Stomach sick

How Can I NOT Get Salmonella?

Another day, another food recall due to the risk of salmonella bacteria. Goldfish and Ritz crackers, Swiss Rolls, Honey Smacks cereal – and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration warned, “there are likely other food products made by manufacturers that also use this common ingredient, (so) there may be other recalls initiated in the coming days.”

Oh, joy …

“This common ingredient” is whey protein. It’s made by separating liquid from solids during cheese production and used as a food modifying agency to provide protein content. Sounds like a good time to seriously cut back on snacking, right?

Alas, this health threat isn’t limited to toasted/baked items. Salmonella also can be ingested by eating undercooked poultry, other meats, and eggs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns. Drinking unpasteurized milk also can be risky. Handling birds and reptiles (and, in the process, touching pet feces) can give you salmonella, too.

How serious is it?

Salmonella usually makes you sick for 4-7 days, then vanishes without treatment. Still, CDC data shows of the 1.2 million cases annually in the U.S., 23,000 require hospitalization and 450 deaths occur. And by having a doctor determine if you have salmonella, it could lead to a recall that protects others from getting infected.

How can you protect yourself?

These 10 quick tips, courtesy of the CDC, are based largely on common sense:

  • ALWAYS wash your hands before preparing and eating food – and BEFORE AND AFTER touching animals, using the restroom, etc.
  • Cook meats and eggs thoroughly
  • When dining out, send undercooked food back to the kitchen
  • Be careful with homemade concoctions that include raw eggs: dressings, sauces, frostings, and, yes, cookie dough
  • Wash with soap and water hands, cutting boards, kitchen surfaces, and utensils used in preparing raw meat
  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Don’t work with raw meat and an infant (e.g. feed, change diaper) at the same time
  • The reverse also applies: after doing something like changing a diaper, don’t next handle food
  • Breastfeeding prevents salmonellosis and many other health problems
  • While petting zoos are a big hit for toddlers, best not to let your kids hold or kiss any bird, including baby chicks and ducklings, without carefully cleaning up afterward

Watch for salmonella warning signs:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Blood in stools
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Seems a lot like the flu, right? How can you learn more before rushing off to see a doctor?

Vista360health members can get personal medical advice first – and instantly, too! We offer 24/7/365 guidance with a doctor via our free telemedicine service. It’s like having a doctor in your pocket. (And when you have a stomach virus, do you really want to leave your house…or bathroom?!)

We’re here to help. Got questions? Give us a call.