Recently consumers were warned to beware of precut melon because of a salmonella contamination. The outbreak affected people in five Midwestern states who had eaten precut watermelon, cantaloupe, or fruit salad that contained melon. Customers were advised to throw away or return the products.
Salmonella is a bacterial disease that can be present because of a variety of factors, including unsafe kitchen practices. Knowing the symptoms of salmonella poisoning and how to avoid it could allow you to prevent your aging relative from getting the illness.
Causes of Salmonella
Salmonella is a bacterium found in the stomachs of animals and people. In most cases, people get salmonella by eating foods that have come into contact with contaminated feces.
The foods that most often contain salmonella are:
Meat: Raw meat and poultry can become infected with salmonella during butchering if it comes in contact with feces. Seafood can also be contaminated if it comes from water that is infected.
Raw Eggs: You might think the eggshell is the most likely part of the egg to contain salmonella. However, eggs can be contaminated inside the chicken before the shell forms.
Produce: Fresh produce may be grown using water that contains the bacteria. It can also be infected by the fertilizer it is grown in.
People can get salmonella poisoning if they don’t follow food safety measures to prevent cross contamination. Vegetables and fruit can come into contact with bacteria if they are prepared on surfaces that were used to prepare raw meat or if juices from raw meat leak into uncooked produce. In addition, people who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom can contaminate surfaces.
Symptoms of salmonella may appear anywhere from two hours to two days after infection. Symptoms include:
- Stomach cramps.
The diarrhea caused by salmonella usually lasts for about 10 days, which could put elders at risk for dehydration.
The steps for preventing salmonella poisoning aren’t complicated, but elders who are not used to cooking for themselves or who have cognitive difficulties may fail to follow them.
To prevent salmonella poisoning:
- Wash hands thoroughly and often, especially after using the bathroom, handling or cleaning up after pets, handling raw meat, or changing a diaper.
- Keep raw meat and seafood away from other foods in the refrigerator.
- Use a different cutting board for meat than is used for produce.
- Don’t place cooked meats on unwashed plates that held raw meat.
- Don’t eat raw eggs or products that contain raw eggs, such as cookie dough.
Elder care can also help older adults to prevent salmonella poisoning. Elder care providers can assist in the kitchen and remind your aging relative to use safe practices. In addition, they can keep the kitchen clean, lessening the chances of cross contamination. Elder care providers can also remind older adults to wash their hands frequently.