Salmonella is an unpleasant illness that thankfully affects ever-decreasing numbers of us these days. It is, however, still important to know how to avoid salmonella where possible as its symptoms aren’t too nice. Here’s a useful guide on where salmonella comes from, how to prevent salmonella and other important questions around the illness.
Where does salmonella come from and how do you get salmonella?
So, where does salmonella come from and how do you get salmonella? Salmonella spreads through the consumption of contaminated foods. The bacteria that cause it live in the intestines of animals and therefore affect related foods i.e. meat and dairy. It’s also sometimes found in soil, which means fruit and vegetables can get contaminated, too. Salmonella mainly lives in raw foods; however, cooked items can also become infected if they are stored together with raw things. Another source of salmonella is common household pets. Reptiles, especially tortoises and terrapins, are common carriers of salmonella, meaning they can spread infection when good hygiene is not observed.
How to avoid salmonella?
Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to the question of how to avoid salmonella. Unlike food that’s gone off, items containing this bug look completely normal, so you can’t tell from smell or taste. That means the most important way to prevent getting salmonella is to observe good hygiene. It’s important to wash your hands regularly, especially before and after dealing with food. Be sure to give them a good scrub and be extra vigilant if handling raw items. It’s also important to wash your hands after going to the toilet or if you’ve changed a nappy. Because salmonella can be contained within soil, be sure to observe good hand hygiene after gardening and especially if you’ve handled pets. It’s also good to be careful when eating out – make sure the restaurant kitchen has recently been inspected and given a high hygiene rating.
How can you prevent salmonella poisoning during food prep?
It’s important to know how to avoid salmonella during food prep. There are some important food hygiene practices which minimise the risk. For example, you should always separate cooked and uncooked food, and store raw food at the bottom of the fridge so its juices don’t drip down onto other things.
It’s also important to wash foods thoroughly before eating them, especially uncooked fruit and veg as this can eradicate lots of nasty bugs. Make sure things are heated right through to the centre. And of course by keeping a clean kitchen at all times you’re reducing your likelihood of a build-up of bacteria. Scrub surfaces with a clean cloth then go over each area with a disposable anti-bacterial wipe or spray.
What to do if someone has salmonella
If someone in your family comes down with salmonella, it’s important to know how to prevent salmonella among other members of the family. Essentially, this means being even more vigilant about hygiene than usual. Wash all dirty clothes, bedding and towels in a washing machine on the hottest setting and be sure to disinfect the kitchen and bathroom thoroughly using products like Cif Antibacterial spray and Domestos bleach.
Make sure the person is getting adequate medical input. Usually the treatment for salmonella is simply rest and hydration, but be sure to check with a health professional. In severe cases you may be prescribed antibiotics; however, this is not always appropriate.
Salmonella certainly isn’t pleasant! By observing good hygiene around the house you can minimise your chances and help prevent the spread of this bug.