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What's Going Around: salmonella infections

Published: Jul. 23, 2015 at 10:57 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2015 at 11:54 AM CDT
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More picnics and barbecues in the summer lead to a rise in food-borne illnesses.  The biggest threat is salmonella and Dr. John Digiglia, an emergency department physician at Lake Area Medical Center, explains that is what's going around this week in Southwest Louisiana.

"Salmonella is a bacteria that when someone gets exposed to it, it can cause gastroenteritis, which is vomiting, nausea, diarrhea," said Dr. Digiglia.

Salmonella bacteria live in our intestines.  Most people are infected with salmonella by eating foods that have been contaminated by feces.  "It can be from uncooked or raw meat," said Dr. Digiglia, " and poultry, eggs."

Dr. Digiglia says salmonella infections generally last four to seven days, but if it lasts longer than that or you are experiencing severe stomach cramps/signs of dehydration, see a doctor.  IV fluids might be needed or antibiotics if the bacteria gets into the bloodstream.  "Usually it's not treated with antibiotics, except in severe cases and people that are immune-compromised may need to be treated with antibiotics," he said.

You can reduce your risk of salmonella infection by cooking food thoroughly, refrigerating it quickly, avoiding cross-contamination of fruits, vegetables and meat, and washing your hands often.  "Clean your surfaces real well and wash your hands and you should be fine," said Dr. Digiglia.

The USDA has a Salmonella Action Plan to best address the threat of salmonella in meat and poultry products. 

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