How to Prevent Salmonella

Keeping yourself and your family healthy should be top of your list of hygiene priorities.

As well as ensuring that high hygiene standards in the kitchen must be maintained at all times, following health and safety guidelines is also recommended if you want to keep Salmonella at bay.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella poisoning leads to a bacteria infection called Salmonellosis, which affects children, the elderly and those with an impaired immune system more acutely. Salmonella is a bacterium which causes intestinal infection and symptoms generally begin to materialise 12 hours after infection and can persist for up to 7 days.

The most common symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and fever, and may be so severe that the infected person needs to be hospitalised. As there is no vaccine for Salmonella staying safe requires that you pay particular attention when preparing food and maintaining good hygiene standards in the home.

How to Avoid Salmonella Poisoning

Following a healthy and hygiene-conscious regime need not be difficult. All you have to do is be aware of the dangers of cross-contamination and ensure that cleanliness is maintained.

Ensuring that poultry, minced beef and eggs are cooked thoroughly is also important, as is washing all produce before consuming. If eating vegetables with their skin on – potatoes and carrots for instance – scrubbing the skin before cooking is recommended. Food that contains raw egg, like mayonnaise and cookie dough, should also be avoided.

Storing food at the correct temperature is also important. All food should be refrigerated as soon as possible, including leftovers that have been chilled. Perishable food, like packed lunches, should always be stored in a cooler box. Ensuring you do not work with raw and cooked produce at the same time will reduce the chances of cross-contamination. Washing your hands before and after food preparation will also help keep everyone healthy.

Other Considerations

Anyone who is suffering from Salmonellosis should not prepare food or pour drinks for other people. Until they are given the salmonella bacterium all-clear sufferers should avoid contact with raw food preparation if at all possible. Children, the elderly and anyone with impaired immune systems should also avoid any contact – directly and indirectly – with reptiles like lizards, snakes and turtles.

What to Do if You Contract Salmonella

It is important to spot the signs of Salmonella poisoning as soon as possible to help reduce the further spread of the bacteria. If you suspect you may have contracted Salmonella keeping hydrated, by drinking plenty of water is important. You may also consider taking a non-asprin to reduce fever.

Your GP will be able to prescribe a course of antibiotics so it is worth making an appointment at your clinic, particularly if you are suffering from severe diarrhoea or vomiting and have very dry skin.

Those most at risk of contracting a Salmonella infection include children, the elderly, individuals suffering from impaired immune systems – such as cancer patients, AIDS sufferers and anyone who has had an organ transplant – individuals suffering from sickle cell disease and anyone with sickle cell anemia or malaria.

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