Bacteria that causes food poisoning is sometimes thought of as a minor inconvenience that may set you back a day or two but it can develop into a serious condition if left unaddressed. Like many of the most common types of food poisoning, salmonella food poisoning can be easily prevented at home. Let’s find out how.
What is the bacteria that causes food poisoning?
Before we look at how to prevent food poisoning, it’s important to know what causes it. Most cases of food poisoning are caused by two types of bacteria: E. coli and salmonella. Food contaminated with these bacteria causes the symptoms of food poisoning when ingested, and the effects are actually quite similar.
E. coli food poisoning: symptoms and causes
A very common cause of food poisoning, E. coli infections are often transmitted by milk products, undercooked and raw beef, or untreated ground water. Typical symptoms include stomach cramps and diarrhoea, as well as a fever and vomiting, and last for around 10 days before clearing up on their own.
E. coli can have life-threatening complications in vulnerable people so severe symptoms like bloody diarrhoea should always be referred to a doctor. You can read more about preventing E. coli food poisoning in this article.
Salmonella food poisoning: symptoms and causes
Like E. coli, salmonella is a common cause of food poisoning also transmitted in dairy products or meat, as well as poultry and eggs. The symptoms of salmonella food poisoning are also similar to that of E. coli and include fever, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, and pain in the abdomen. These symptoms also last for a similar length of time (up to 7 days) and can cause complications in the young or elderly.
It is possible that you won’t know what bacteria has caused your food poisoning unless more specific treatment is needed. Luckily, the methods to prevent the most common causes of food poisoning are the same.
How to prevent food poisoning? Top tips
Although the bacteria that causes food poisoning is invisible to the eye, it can be abundant in your household. Bacteria often thrives in warm, damp areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, so our prevention tips focus on those areas.
- Wash your hands. Keep hands clean before, during, and after cooking by washing them regularly. This applies every time you use the bathroom, change a nappy, or come into contact with any animals or signs of infection (such as visiting a sick relative). This is a key factor in learning how to prevent food poisoning.
- Wash and segregate cutting boards. If you want to make sure that bacteria does not collect on surfaces and mix in with food that may not get cooked, wash and even segregate your cutting boards for different foods. Use one board for chopping raw meats, one for cooked meat, and one for vegetables. When washing your cutting boards and getting rid of the common causes of food poisoning, use a high quality washing-up liquid like Vim.
- Wipe down all surfaces. If you want to keep bacteria at bay, keep all surfaces such as your countertops and stovetop completely wiped down. If this is not followed, salmonella food poisoning could be contracted. Using a product like Cif can help remove germs.
- Get rid of expired foods. Go through the refrigerator and get rid of foods that have expired. The same goes for cans and other dry goods. Clean out your fridge and cupboards with warm soapy water regularly too to get rid of dirt and possible bacteria.
- Store foods correctly. This is equally important for both raw and cooked foods so make sure you put cooked foods in the fridge to keep them fresh – leaving them out on the counter for too long can generate the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
Keep your family safe, clean, and protected from food poisoning by taking these measures in your home. Remember: cleaning is key to the prevention of food poisoning so stick to a regular schedule to avoid contamination wherever possible.