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Salmonella Outbreak and other Foodborne Illnesses: Tips for Patients and Providers
On September 3, 2015 (ironically during national food safety month) the CDC and FDA announced a large outbreak of food-borne illness from Salmonella- contaminated cucumbers. Schmitt Thompson Clinical Content sent out an update on Salmonella and triage protocols to use when triaging food-borne illness. Here are some quick tips on food-borne illness and how to triage patients who show signs of such illnesses.
- Both viruses and bacteria can cause food-borne illness. There are many types of food-borne illnesses and the onset of symptoms can take anywhere from hours to months. It is imperative to be sure that all symptoms are assessed with food-borne illness in mind as a possibility.
- Children under 5 years old, pregnant women and anyone with a weak immune system are especially vulnerable to food-borne illness. The elderly are also more likely to contract such illnesses.
- The main sources of Salmonella are undercooked meats, poultry, and eggs, but it can also be contracted from unwashed fruits and vegetables. Always be sure to wash your utensils and not to leave raw meat out on the counter to thaw.
- Most healthy patients will recover without treatment. Antibiotics are only recommended for high risk patients.
Preventing Food-Borne Illness: Tips for Patients
- Wash hands, surfaces, and utensils often while preparing food.
- Scrub fruits and vegetables under running water.
- Separate raw meat from other foods and use separate utensils.
- Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly.
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
What to read next: TriageLogic Releases 2015 Pediatric Office Hours Protocol Update