6 Causes of Salmonella

Salmonella poisoning, also called salmonellosis, is a common illness in the United States. Humans contract it when salmonella bacteria enter their intestines and wreaks havoc on their bodies. Generally, salmonella poisoning is something you can recover from at home, though it can lead to severe dehydration in extreme cases. Anyone who becomes dehydrated or suffers from symptoms for more than seven days should go to the hospital for treatment.

While it’s possible to have salmonella without developing symptoms, most people do suffer from some basic ones. They typically occur within three days of coming in contact with the bacteria, though symptoms may present themselves as soon as eight to ten hours. Abdominal cramps and diarrhea are the most common symptoms, and you may also come down with a fever. Nausea, vomiting, chills, dizziness, weakness, headache, and bloody stools are also possible. If you do have symptoms that impact your intestinal tract, you may find that they linger for up to 10 days.

For most healthy adults, salmonella poisoning isn’t life-threatening and clears up without medical intervention. However, it can have a greater impact on babies, younger children, and older adults. Women who are pregnant, people who have received organ transplants, and people who have a weak immune system due to conditions and diseases, like AIDs and sickle-cell disease, are also at a greater risk for developing complications after coming in contact with the bacteria. Some medications and medical treatments may also weaken the immune system and lead to complications.

The best way to prevent salmonella from spreading is to wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, handling pets, cleaning up pet feces, and handling raw meat. It’s also important to know the main causes of salmonella poisoning.

1. Uncooked meat, seafood, and poultry

The number one way people in the United States develop salmonella poisoning is by handling or eating uncooked meat, seafood, and poultry. When the animal is butchered, feces may get into the meat, and if the animal carries the bacteria in their system, it contaminates the meat you buy in stores. In the case of seafood, the creatures may live in contaminated waters before harvest.

Washing your hands after handling any type of raw protein is a must. It’s also important to avoid cross-contamination while working in the kitchen. Don’t use the same cutting board and knife for your chicken that you use for breads, fruits, and vegetables. If you put raw meat, poultry, or seafood on a plate or pan, don’t put it back on the same dish after you cook it. Always store your uncooked meat, poultry, and seafood properly in the refrigerator or freezer, and don’t let them touch other foods.

Finally, make sure you cook all meat, seafood, and poultry properly and to the right temperature. Serving it raw or under-cooked means you and your family may ingest the bacteria without knowing it. If you eat any of these foods at restaurants, inspect them before eating them to ensure they are cooked properly and don’t look unusual.