Dr. Jeff Harp of Highland Family Medicine discussed the effects of Salmonella food poisoning and the steps you can take to avoid it Thursday during News 8 at Sunrise.
“Salmonella is a bacteria and Salmonella food poisoning is an infection in the intestines by that bacteria,” explained Dr. Harp. “It’s transmitted by contact with the bacteria, and where you get the bacteria is really two major sources – food, so poultry, eggs, dairy products, and then contaminated vegetables and fruits. The vegetables and fruits that are mostly implicated are sprouts, actually some lettuces, and melon, and there’s also been an outbreak in melon recently. Pets, especially reptiles and amphibians, frogs,and toads, and things like that, and baby chicks are also a big offender. So, those two sources, pets and food.”
When it comes to contracting Salmonella, Dr. Harp said generally the person first has to ingest the bacteria and then within 12 to 72 hours they start to have abdominal cramping, vomiting, diarrhea and fever, just like any kind of intestinal bug. “Generally, for people who are fairly healthy, it lasts from five to seven days, the symptoms, not necessarily the fever, but the diarrhea, and they get over it,” Dr. Harp said. “But for people who are a little more vulnerable might start to get dehydrated, feel lightheaded and so forth, and if that happens, they really should contact a healthcare clinician and get some help because they might need IV fluids and antibiotics to help them get over the infection.”
He added staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest are the best ways to treat Salmonella. When it comes to avoiding the condition, Dr. Harp made several recommendations. “Avoid exposure to potentially contaminated foods. If you are buying pre-cut vegetables and fruits, make sure they’re rinsed well, cooked well. Meats, make sure they’re cooked to the right temperature. When you’re preparing food, don’t mix the utensils that are used to prepare food with the utensils used to serve it. So, like for example, if you’re cutting up chicken, wash those things before you use those same things to serve it, and then refrigerate things after they’re cooked. And then with animals, of course, wash your hands after handling any kind of animal, especially ones that might be at risk of transmitting Salmonella.”
For more information about Salmonella and ways to avoid it, click here.