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The Dangers of Salmonella: Understanding How to Limit Your Risk

3 min

Have you ever gotten food poisoning and wondered what caused it? Chances are, the culprit was salmonella. Salmonella bacteria can cause serious illness if consumed, but understanding where it comes from and how to avoid contact with it can limit your chances of getting sick. In this post, we'll explore what salmonella is, how it exists in our food supply chain and its symptoms so that you can protect yourself and your family against infection.

What is Salmonella and How Does it Spread

Salmonella is a bacteria which can cause food poisoning. It is one of the most common yet preventable causes of illness affecting people worldwide every year. It spreads when raw chicken, eggs and milk are contaminated by faeces from an infected animal. To reduce the spread, washing hands before and after handling food is essential. Washing fruit and vegetables and cooking food thoroughly will also help to protect against salmonella contamination. Individuals with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to severe infections caused by salmonella, making prevention even more critical. Following safety guidelines can significantly reduce the spread of this bacteria.

Common Symptoms of Salmonella Poisoning

Salmonella poisoning is an unpleasant consequence of consuming infected food or water and can cause various symptoms, depending on the severity. It typically begins with stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhoea that can sometimes be bloody. Additional indications of salmonella poisoning include fever, chills, headaches and fatigue. In very severe instances, patients may experience joint pain, abdominal swelling and rashes that appear after a few days. If you have any of these symptoms after eating contaminated food or drinking unclean water, you should seek medical attention immediately to avoid further health complications.

How to Protect Yourself from Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is a foodborne illness caused by consuming food contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria. 

  • One of the best ways to protect yourself from salmonellosis is to practice safe food handling and preparation techniques. Start by constantly washing your hands before and after handling raw meats, poultry, seafood or eggs. 
  • Additionally, all fruits and vegetables should be washed and scrubbed thoroughly, even if you plan on peeling them. When cooking, it's essential to ensure your meat reaches an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit to kill off any remaining bacteria. 
  • Cross-contamination must be avoided at all costs, so use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and seafood when preparing meals. 
  • Lastly, remember to store leftovers correctly in the refrigerator within two hours after preparing them – throw away anything left out longer than this time limit! These simple steps can help protect you from getting a foodborne illness like salmonellosis.

Steps to Take if you Believe You have been Infected

If you are worried that you may have been infected with a virus or other health issue, it is essential to take action as soon as possible before something more serious occurs. 

  • First, consult with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment and to get confirmation as to whether or not you have indeed been infected.
  • Then, depending on your diagnosis, follow the devices of your doctor closely to try and prevent any further damage or issues. Also, practice good hygiene by washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitiser in public.
  • Finally, reach out for emotional support if needed, as it is an important part of the healing process. Taking steps swiftly if you believe you are ill can help minimise the severity of any symptoms that may occur.

Proper Food Preparation and Storage Tips

Proper food preparation and storage are essential for ensuring safe consumption. Without providing food items handled correctly, the risk of bacteria and other contaminants making a person ill is much higher. To prevent this, washing hands before touching any food item and always using clean kitchen equipment and surfaces is essential. Additionally, many foods, like raw meats, must be cooked thoroughly to avoid contamination. At the same time, fruits and vegetables should be washed before consuming them to remove potentially harmful pesticides or sprays. 

Lastly, all food should be immediately destroyed after preparation or refrigerated until ready to be served again. Also, follow hygiene rules for reheating chicken.

What to Do if You Come into Contact with Animals that May Carry Salmonella

Salmonella is a food-borne bacterial illness often spread to humans by contact with certain animals, such as poultry and pigs. If you come into contact with animals carrying salmonella, taking the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of infection is essential. 

Wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with any animal and disinfect any surfaces or objects where the animal was held, especially if they have been licked or touched by animals. Anyone handling poultry should take special care to avoid cross-contamination of food, and safe handling practices should be followed while cooking all eggs. 

Finally, if you have handled an animal suspected of carrying salmonella and later develop symptoms of the infection, including fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting or diarrhoea, seek medical attention immediately.


Salmonella is a significant concern to keep in mind regarding food safety. Strict personal hygiene and proper food handling are the cornerstones of keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. However, prompt medical attention is essential if you suspect that you or someone you know may have been infected with this bacteria. Correctly tracing the source of the potentially contaminated food is also vital to help ensure future cases of salmonellosis are avoided. Finally, adjusting lifestyle habits, including additional steps such as avoiding contact with animals that carry Salmonella, can help minimise the risk. With this knowledge, we can arm ourselves with best practices for protecting our families from these dangerous but preventable illnesses.

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