Salmonella Poisoning Tips to Ease Tainted Turkey Fears

ground turkeyBy now you've probably heard the news about the multi-state salmonella outbreak, which has killed one person and sickened almost 80. As a result, meat manufacturer Cargill, the company that put out the contaminated goods, is recalling fresh and frozen ground turkey products made at its Springdale plant in Arkansas between February 20 and August 2.

The scariest part of this whole thing? Investigators think that the particular strain of salmonella involved this time around -- Salmonella Heidelberg -- is actually resistant to many common antibiotics. Eeeek! Doesn't sound too good, does it? I can't help but wonder when the last time I ate ground turkey was, or if Cargill is sold at my local grocer. And if I somehow manage to get salmonella poisoning, what should I do?

I doubt I'm alone in my state of worry. You're probably asking yourself the same kinds of questions, right? This 411 list about salmonella poisoning should help:


Who is at risk? Everyone. Salmonella poisoning attacks all age groups and both sexes.

How do you get salmonella poisoning? You can contract salmonella by eating, drinking, or coming into contact with foods contaminated with the bacterial strand. But by cooking your meat, eggs, and poultry thoroughly, you kill off the bacteria and lower your risk of infection. An important note: Ground turkey should be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 165 Fahrenheit on a thermometer. 

Signs of salmonella poisoning: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says salmonella can cause fever, severe abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms can begin as soon as within 8 hours of ingesting tainted food, or up to 72 hours later. The severity depends on how much of the bacteria you were exposed to.

What to do if you have salmonella poisoning: Generally, the infection resolves itself in five to seven days. Many cases go undiagnosed, since most people sick with salmonella would rather stay as close to their bathrooms as possible than leave the comforts of their home to get treatment.

Make sure to monitor yourself for dehydration, as it can be hard to keep down fluids. If symptoms continue for longer than five days or worsen dramatically, it's important to call your doctor or go to a hospital. In more serious cases, the salmonella bacteria can get into your bloodstream by entering the lymph tracts, which carry protein and water to the blood.

Exhale. Frightening stuff, isn't it? I think I'm going to keep my inner hypochondriac at bay and stay away from ground turkey, just for a bit, just to be safe.

Are you worried about the salmonella outbreak?

Image via angeldye/Flickr

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