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How to protect yourself from salmonella

Everett Clinic infectious disease expert Dr. John Dilworth contributed to this Herald Health article, “What you can do to protect yourself from salmonella,” a common bacteria associated with eating eggs and chicken.

“It’s usually the result of a foodborne cause or from contact with an infected animal,” said Dr. John Dilworth, an infectious disease specialist at The Everett Clinic. “The most common symptoms are gastroenteritis — diarrhea — and fever. It can stay in your system for a week or two.”

“Older folks, children under 5 years old and infants are particularly vulnerable,” Dilworth said. “One risk from prolonged gastroenteritis is dehydration. Especially with kids, they dehydrate more quickly, which is why it’s important to watch for that.”

Read the entire article in The Herald.

Preventing salmonella

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs or meat. The USDA recommends that chicken be cooked to 165 degrees to kill salmonella bacteria.
  • Send restaurant food back if you believe it is undercooked.
  • Be aware of and avoid foods that sometimes contain raw eggs, such as homemade Caesar dressing, Hollandaise sauce, homemade ice cream and mayonnaise, and cookie and pastry doughs.
  • Thoroughly wash hands and kitchen work surfaces with soapy water after they have come into contact with raw meat, poultry or eggs.
  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water after handling reptiles or birds, particularly chickens.
  • Infants, young children and immunocompromised individuals should avoid contact with reptiles such as turtles, iguanas and lizards.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after coming into contact with any animal feces.
  • When washing hands, use soap and warm water and thoroughly clean around fingers, nails and cuticles.
  • When using hand sanitizers, spread all over the hands and allow the sanitizer to saturate hands for 10 seconds.