Salmonella is the most common cause of food illness. It is a highly invasive bacterium and can very easily spread. The optimal temperature for the Salmonella to multiply is 5 to 45 degrees Celsius, which makes it easily propagating. Salmonella infection prevention is essential to keep you enjoying a great time away from food-borne illnesses.
Comes summer and comes with it a whole bunch of infections emanating from food that is misplaced, or wrongly stored. So, whether you are just looking at some contaminated batch coming all the way from the manufacturer or you got exposed to Salmonella from consuming contaminated food; then, here is what you need to know.
Salmonella Infection Definition: What is it?
Salmonella infection, also called salmonellosis, is when you bring to your gut the commonly found Salmonella bacteria. This bacteria lives in animals and is excreted from the body through your feces. You can become infected when you eat a certain food or drink something that has come in contact with this bacteria: a contaminated food. While some might not show any symptoms; others might have some cramps and diarrhea and can recover on their own. Many healthy people end up recovering on their own while others will need treatment to prevent any complication.
Where do Salmonella come from?
Chicken that are infected with Salmonella do not show any kind of symptom and their laid eggs appear normal. Contamination of Salmonella can happen from the eggs or the broiler meat. It could happen before even the egg is formed and can also invade the shell of an egg after it is laid. Salmonella can survive the hard cooking of the egg and hence infect us.
Where do Salmonella live in our body?
When you eat a contaminated food, you are letting Salmonella inside your body. This bacteria can invade the intestines and colon. It can also grow inside our liver and spleen.
Salmonella Infection: when do Salmonella symptoms start?
When you eat some food that is contaminated with Salmonella, you will have Salmonellosis. The bacteria might take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days to show any symptoms. Eventhough some people might carry the salmonella for months and have no symptoms, they can be highly infectious. This infection can be classified as stomach flu, also called gastroenteritis. Among the many symptoms that could develop, here are the most common:
1- Nausea and vomiting
2- Stomach cramps
4- Fever and Chills
6- Bloody stool (not very common).
These symptoms can go as long as seven days; but, for some it can only last two days. You might need a month or more for your stool to come back to normal.
Some types (strains) of Salmonella can cause a fever called a thyhoid fever that can be concerning and would require medical attention. Traveling to countries that have poor sanitation and are developing nations; then, you will be at higher risk of being infected with the more virulent strain. Also, if you have a reptile or a bird at home, then these could carry the bacteria and infect you.
Salmonella Infection Causes: Where do Salmonella come from? Food Sources.
Salmonella is a bacterium that lives in the guts of animals, people and birds. When you eat contaminated food, you get it. Many food are at high risks of being infected, such as poultry, eggs and egg products, raw meat and meat products, non-pasteurized milk and dairy products.
Also, vegetables and sprouted seeds can be contaminated if they were washed by contaminated water by their producers. Raw food can also become contaminated if they come in contact with surfaces and other food that contain the bacteria. Several factors other than ingesting contaminated food could lead to an infection including an improper cooling of food, lapse of a day or 2 between preparation and serving of the food, improper cooking or heating, and cross contamination.
For example, if you were preparing food that has eggs and they were contaminated, you might contaminate your kitchen surfaces, your hands and other food and items you touch. Make sure you do not use the same utensils and surfaces when you cook raw meats and eggs and handle raw veggies.
Salmonella Infection: Risk Factors.
While in many cases the Salmonella infection can be resolved on its own, in other cases it will require medical attention. In our body, we have something called ‘natural defenses’. These are secretions that are present in our bodies and make our body strong and able to defend itself against certain invasions. For example, our stomach naturally secretes acids. These have the ability to kill many of the Salmonella strains.
For those who take some medications or have some health conditions, these natural defenders can be jeopardized and the body will no longer have the ability to defend itself naturally. In the case of Salmonella, these factors might affect your ability to take down the bacteria on your own.
1- If you take antacids, you are lowering the acidity of your stomach. These pills are normally taken by some people who have GERD.
2- If you have IBD, also called Irritable Bowel Disease, then you might have some damages on the lining of your intestines. This will help the Salmonella to stay and live in there.
3- If you had to take some antibiotics recently; then, there is a high chance that you have a low count of good bacteria in your gut ready to fight off infections. This will not let your body fight off Salmonella properly.
Salmonella Infection: How to prevent Salmonella at home?
It is essential to keep your health and that of your family at its best. Just like for many illnesses and infections, there is a simple way to prevent them. If you are looking at having the perfect health, it is simple as long as you get the right kind of information.
As for the salmonella bacteria, There are many ways to prevent this infection. These include the following measures that need to be taken:
- Cook the food thoroughly (no raw eggs). So, stay way from eating any kind of food that uses raw eggs like eggnog, and some sweets. In that case, you might want to opt for pasteurized eggs.
- Think of having a golden rule: wash your hands before and after cooking and/or handling the ingredients of a certain meal.
- You have to always wash fruits and vegetables very well. There is a certain way to wash well your veggies and fruits.
- Wash your hands before eating, after using the toilet, and after handling birds and reptiles.
- Avoid cross contamination during cooking by always cleaning food surface, never handle raw food and fruits/vegetables in the same area and without washing your hands in between. You need to keep things apart from each other. In your fridge, do not have on the same shelf raw meat or seafood and fruits and vegetables. Cooked food needs to stay away from raw meats or unwashed veggies. Try to have two cutting boards: one for raw meats and one for fruits and veggies.
- Sanitize surfaces where you were handling the raw food.
- Cooked food, especially poultry, that stay at room temperature for long times are at risk.