Infectious Diseases A-Z: Salmonella safety
How to Recognize Salmonella Symptoms If You've Eaten Contaminated Products
First it was , then , and now Xtra Cheddar Goldfish. The number of pantry products affected by a multistateSalmonellaoutbreak seems to grow by the day, and if you've chowed down on at least one of those on the past few weeks, the news can sound pretty scary.
Luckily no one's reported an illness from eating Ritz or Goldfish yet. Both companies recalled the affected snacks out of an abundance of caution since they contain potentially contaminated whey powder from a shared supplier. The same reason necessitated the recent Swiss roll recall as well.
"Whey protein is an animal protein isolate made during cheese production by separating liquid from solids," explains Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. "It's then used as a food texture modifying agent or to increase protein content."
(You can check out the full list of recalled Goldfish and Ritz varieties here.)
On the flipside, more than 70 people have fallen ill after reportedly eating Honey Smacks, a recall unconnected to the tainted whey powder. So what's the deal withSalmonellabacteria? Here's what you should know if you're worried about yourself or your kids getting sick:
Symptoms of Salmonella Poisoning
Salmonellais a bacteria that usually lives in human and animal intestines that's shed through feces. People usually get infected through contaminated food or water, causing a common bacterial infection called salmonellosis.
Overall,Salmonellacauses 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the U.S. every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most people never develop symptoms, but they otherwise usually appear 12 to 72 hours after infection.
Here's what you should look out for:
- Abdominal cramps
- Blood in stool
How Is Salmonellosis Diagnosed?
ASalmonellainfection can last between two and seven days, although it may take months before bowel movements return to normal, the Mayo Clinic states.
To confirm a case of salmonellosis, your doctor will likely need a stool or blood sample. The lab can also then report the case to public health authorities to further understand the outbreak.
While many people recover in a few days without treatment, sometimes dehydration due to persistent diarrhea can require hospitalization. In rare cases, the infection can spread from the intestines to other parts of the body, necessitating a course of antibiotics.
Infected children, elderly, and immunocompromised people should especially seek medical attention.(Children under the age of 5 have higher rates ofSalmonellainfection than any other age group.)
How Can I Prevent Salmonella?
First things first, throw away any recalled products or return them for a refund. If you stored your cereals or snacks in reusable containers, wash those out with soap and warm water too, the CDC advises.
However, eating contaminated processed foods isn't the only way you can get infected withSalmonella. Consuming improperly cooked poultry, meat, eggs, or unpasteurized milk can also put you at risk. That's why the CDC has also issued a recent alert about raw turkey products, which have sickened 90 people in the past few months.
You can also contractSalmonellawhen handling animals like reptiles, birds, and chickens or pet feces. Protect yourself by:
- Always washing your handswhen preparing or eating food, before and after touching animals, using the restroom, or changing diapers.
- Cooking raw poultry thoroughlyto an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Preventing cross-contaminationby washing your counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
- Never washing raw poultrybefore cooking. It can spread germs to other areas.
- Watching out for foods that contain raw eggs, like homemade Hollandaise sauce, Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, cookie dough, frosting, and eggnog.
- Sending undercooked foodback to the kitchen if you're eating out.
- Washing fruits and vegetables, and preparing them on a different cutting board than meat.
- Never letting small children handle reptiles(especially small turtles), baby chicks, or other young birds.
Video: How to Recognize the Symptoms of Salmonella Poisoning
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