Salmonella Infection: What You Need to Know?
Salmonella infection is a common disease. The bacteria, named Salmonella is responsible for this infection. Basically, Salmonella is a kind of bacteria with different types. These bacteria are normally found in the intestines of humans, birds, and animals. Salmonella can also be found in unpasteurized milk, on raw meat and eggs. Salmonella bacteria can make a human sick if it enters in the body alive. The type of bacteria which is responsible to make human sick is transferred by chickens, cows, pigs, and reptiles. This illness is known as Salmonella food poisoning. It is also known as ‘stomach flu’.
How Does Human Get Infected by Salmonella?
As I have mentioned in the first line of the article that it is a very common disease. This point also indicates that this disease can spread easily and fast to make us sick. This infection usually starts with the animal. Animal easily gets infected with this bacteria through various mediums.
People may get this infection if they transfer animal stool containing Salmonella bacteria from their bare hands. Eating without washing your hands after touching the animals can be a reason for transferring the bacteria. Food is one of the very common media to transfer Salmonella bacteria. Food contamination can happen at any point in the process of food making like, in the farming, distribution, and food preparation process. Any food can become contaminated with salmonella.
These bacteria also transfer from one person to another. A person infected with Salmonella can transfer it for weeks or even for months to other people even after the symptoms disappear from the affected person. Person to person it may spread through hands or objects.
Salmonella illness is very common in summers. High temperature gives an ideal condition to Salmonella bacteria to grow and reproduce. So to refrigerate the food is a must in summers. Sometimes it’s possible that there is no smell in food but still it has Salmonella bacteria in it. So consuming an unrefrigerated food is a big no, especially in summers.
Sign and Symptoms of Salmonella Illness
Salmonella illness can be really serious and dangerous. So don’t avoid any of the following signs. Here is the list of the symptoms of Salmonella infection.
- Stomach cramps
- A headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
In a few cases, the patient can have a bloody stool problem in Salmonella illness. All of these symptoms can be a sign of many diseases so we suggest you see a doctor immediately. The doctor can suggest for a stool test. Young children and old people easily get infected with Salmonella because their immune system is not very strong.
Patients can experience these symptoms after 12 to 72 hours of being exposed to the bacteria. In a few rare cases, people infected with salmonella can experience reactive arthritis or Reiter’s syndrome. In this condition, the patient experiences joint pain, eye irritation, and painful urination. These symptoms remain in the patient’s body from 6 months to 1 year.
A person, infected with Salmonella carries the bacteria with him for weeks, months and even for years in the bowel and shed them in the stool for months after recovering.
The Risk Factors
Everyone with Salmonella bacteria, will not become ill. People with low immunity, children especially younger than 4 years of age, pregnant women and elderly people are at higher risk to get infected by Salmonella. People with HIV infection and with sickle cell disease also easily get this infection. Apart from this, people who are on Cancer medicine can also get this infection because these medicines affect the immunity of a patient and this infection hits when the immunity is low.
Do’s and Don’ts About Salmonella Infection
Food is always a reason for most of the Salmonella infection cases. If food has become contaminated with salmonella then to eliminate these bacteria become very difficult. Usually, people think that keeping food products, eggs, and meat in the fridge is the best option. But in the case of Salmonella, this is not always true. Salmonella bacteria cannot reproduce in low temperature but unfortunately, they cannot be killed in the freezer.
Moreover, only peeling the vegetable and fruits cannot eliminate these bacteria because these bacteria can reach to the inner side of fruit and vegetable. Only cooking can kill the Salmonella bacteria but there are not 100% chances that cooked food is not infected. So precautions are the only way that can save us from Salmonella infection.
- Do not eat any fruit or vegetable without washing them. Wash root vegetables like carrot, beetroot with the help of scrub or brush.
- Wash your hand for at least 20 seconds before preparing food. Before peeling or cutting the vegetables also, one should wash his hands properly.
- Before and after having meals also, don’t forget to wash your hands properly. If you are somewhere where it is not possible for you to wash your hands then keep a sanitizer with you always and use it before eating anything.
- Do not keep raw meat and other vegetables together in the fridge. Even while shopping for meat and other food products always keep raw meat separated from other eatable items.
- Don’t eat street food.
- Try not to eat raw eggs or food prepared with raw egg.
- Avoid consuming unpasteurized dairy products like milk, cheese, etc.
- Don’t keep the utensils and other things of salmonella-infected patients with others.
- Keep eggs in the coldest part of the fridge. We generally keep eggs on the door where temperature keeps fluctuating so it is not the best place to keep the eggs.
- Do wash your hands properly before cooking.
- Keep your utensils and kitchen area always clean. You can sanitize your utensils with a homemade sanitizer. For the homemade sanitizer, mix 5 ml bleach in 750 ml water and spray it on utensils and work area in the kitchen. Then clean the kitchen platform and utensils with plenty of water, wipe it with a clean towel and let it dry in air.
- Use separate cuttings boards for meat and vegetables.
- Always take extra care if any of your family members is suffering from food poising. Keep your kitchen and work station clean and don’t forget to wash your hands every time before and after preparing the meal and eating your food and stay healthy.
Though the infection is not so common, it is better to take the precautions, especially if you have kids and elderly people in your house. This article is not written by any medical professional but we have taken extra care and put a lot of research in writing it. If you have any question about the topic, do ask us in the comment section below.