Salmonella food poisoning will quickly ruin the excitement of the holiday season. Taking steps to prevent coming in contact with foods harboring the bacteria will keep you and your loved ones safe during this season and the rest of the year.
Salmonella is normally passed to people by consuming foods such as beef, poultry, eggs and milk contaminated by animal feces. Eating raw or undercooked meat and eggs may increase a person’s chance of contracting Salmonella. Infected food will smell and look normal. Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly cleaned in case they came in contact with the bacteria.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and cramping of the abdomen and develop within 12-72 hours of consuming infected food. Those symptoms can be related to other infections, but a stool sample of an infected person will be tested to determine if Salmonella is to blame. A Salmonella infection will normally run its course in 5-7 days with no treatment except an increase in fluids.
Utensils, hands and any surface that came in contact with raw meat should be washed with soap and water. Hands should also be washed after holding reptiles, chicks, or birds. Reptiles can carry Salmonella on their skin.
In the United States each year, more than 42,000 cases of Salmonella infections are reported, but the number is likely much higher because not everyone infected is tested. Be cautious when preparing food and don’t be afraid to send back or bypass questionable food when at a restaurant or buffet.