The Role of Triage Nurses During Food Outbreaks

Recently foods such as Honey Smacks cereal, Goldfish Crackers, and eggs have been on the news as being recalled. The main culprit in these recalls was Salmonella. Updates on Honey Smacks alone have shown that at least 130 people across 36 states have contracted the illness, creating worry among consumers. Still, not all food recalls have the potential to cause health hazards. Our triage nurses have been evaluating and educating patients worried about symptoms following the consumption of one of those items. Doctors who want to provide additional reading material for their patients can also ask TriageLogic Nurses to send handouts to their patients.

Doctor Ravi Raheja, a co-founder of the TriageLogic Group, was recently interviewed to discuss the Honey Smacks recall, typical symptoms of salmonella and food poisoning, and what to look for before calling a doctor.

Information to Give to Patients

Salmonella is a bacterial infection which can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps between 12 to 72 hours after infection.   The illness usually lasts up to a week and most healthy individuals recover with no serious complications. Serious complications include dehydration from diarrhea and sepsis from the infection entering the bloodstream. Elderly persons, infants, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe symptoms.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) classifies recalls into 3 categories; Class 1 are dangerous or defective products that could predictably cause serious health problems or death. Class 2 products can cause temporary health problems or pose only a slight threat of serious nature. Class 3 are products that are unlikely to cause any adverse health reactions, but that still violate the FDA labeling or manufacturing laws. Examples of these might include a container defect or labeling omission in a retail food. An example of a Class III recall is the 2010 recall of children’s medicines that were potentially contaminated with small pieces of plastic during the manufacturing process.

The United States Department of Agriculture has a program where they will send you email notifications when recalls or public health alerts, are issued. Find additional safety information about human medical products on FDA’s MedWatch page.

September is National Food Safety Education Month. It provides an opportunity to raise awareness about steps you can take to prevent food poisoning. Do you want our Triage Nurses to educate your patients, document calls, all while using doctor’s custom orders? Contact us today.