Another Bacteria You Should Know About
While a lot of people are becoming more aware of E. Coli—a bacterium that affects the intestines—there’s another bacteria that also affects the intestines that everyone should be aware of as well. Salmonella.
The Salmonella strain that is the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.S. is Salmonella Enteritidis. This strain easily infects chicken flocks, spreading rapidly, and without any visible disease. It is believed that mass production of chickens in farms is the main cause of the rise of Salmonella. Since the strain spreads quickly, chickens in farms can become infected that fast—plus the fact that chickens from one farm can be distributed to other cities, the spread of the bacteria is multiplied; hence, millions of people can be infected.
Salmonella infection is mostly caused by poultry, dairy, and meat products. But it should be noted that Salmonella could grow on almost all types of food. However, chicken and eggs are high risk.
When Salmonella is consumed via an infected food, and travels towards the intestines it binds to the walls, where some are able to pass through the walls and is taken to the liver or spleen. Many of the bacteria are expelled from the intestines—this is when you suffer diarrhea—but if the bacterium is able to pass through the wall and into the liver it can grow again and be released back to the intestines.
When a person becomes infected he either becomes symptomatic or asymptomatic. Symptoms normally appear within 72 hours and can last up to one week. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, chills, and blood in stool. Healthy individuals recover within a few days, not so much for children, seniors, and those with weak immune systems. Dehydration will likely happen due to the diarrhea and vomiting, so it is important to keep hydrated.
There is really no medicine when a person becomes infected. Antibiotics are only used when the infection spreads, which means it has spread beyond the intestines.
In order to prevent becoming infected with Salmonella, here are a few tips:
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs.
- Cook foods until well done.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk.
- Wash produce thoroughly.
- Keep uncooked meat from cooked meat.
- Always wash hands before handling any food.