You’re making me SICK.

8 Oct

Flooding in Colorado. Tornadoes in Nebraska. Loitering in Montana. What do they all have in common?

In each of these places, you can be exposed to things you don’t want.

Most of us hear “Salmonella” and either think of bad food… or a really bad horror movie on cable.

But did you know that Salmonella is contagious?

Yes, Virginia…  Salmonella infection is indeed contagious. Like any other bacteria based infection, you have to be careful to avoid spreading that nasty bacteria to other people. Did you know that there are over 2,400 different kinds of Salmonella bacteria?

The symptoms are a fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Crankiness and a lack of sleep follows, as well as scowling from family members you’re  being crabby to. At least that’s how it works in MY house.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control, which I think is still in SHUTDOWN due to those Congressional buffoons that can’t play nice together) says;

“People who are more likely to become ill from Salmonella include:

  •     young children and infants (their developing immune systems have a harder time fighting off the infection)    older people
  •     those with weakened immune systems (such as people with HIV and those with sickle cell anemia)
  •     people who take cancer drugs
  •     people who take antacids or stomach acid suppression medication

Preventive methods are especially important when preparing food or providing care for infants, older adults and people with compromised immune systems. Be sure to cook food thoroughly and refrigerate or freeze food promptly.”

Rule Number One:

Wash your danged hands!

Even if your hands ain’t “danged”, wash ’em anyway.

Washing your hands thoroughly can help prevent the transfer of salmonella bacteria to your mouth or to any food you’re preparing. Use anti-bacterial soap and wash your hands thoroughly for at least a minute under warm water.

You remember what your mom told you, right? You should always wash your hands after you do any of the following:

  •     Use the toilet
  •     Change a diaper
  •     Handle raw meat or poultry
  •     Clean up after your pet
  •     Touch reptiles or birds

Remember, some foods are “anti-social”. Just like you have to keep weird Uncle Jeffrey away from Aunt Gladys, you have to keep some things separate to keep things from getting out of control.

Proteins like raw meat, fish (and seafood in general) and poultry should always be stored away from other food items. Additionally, you should have a cutting board in your kitchen dedicated to those foods. You don’t want to prepare veggies on a cutting board that had meat on it previously.

Don’t contaminate prepared (cooked) foods by placing it directly onto surfaces that were used to prepare raw meats.

Don’t eat RAW eggs. No matter what you see on TV eating raw eggs is risky. Even the SHELLS can carry the bacteria.

We all sneak off a big pinch of stuff like cookie dough and homemade ice creams. Don’t do it. They contain raw eggs and raw eggs are a leading source of salmonella.

You want diarrhea and cramps? Raw cookie dough will do it.

Diarrhea can lead to dehydration — and diarrhea caused by Salmonella can be quite severe, you need to start hydrating yourself. You should drink plenty of water or drinks that contain electrolytes (you an find these sports drinks at your supermarket).

Lot’s of people with Salmonella reach for the anti-diarrheal medicines in their bathroom medicine cabinets, but it’s not a good idea for people with salmonellosis. These anti-diarrheals can actually make the infection last longer. Check with your doctor or nurse practitioner first, okay? If you have a fever, you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce your temperature, but only IF your consulted medical professional says it’s the right treatment.

Let’s be careful out there…

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