35 individuals across the country have fallen ill from an outbreak of salmonella, a bacterial pathogen. Of those individuals, 11 were hospitalized with a resulting infection. Food-borne illnesses, while accounting for a a lower percentage of deaths than other illnesses, are a particular concern given their random appearance and often preventable nature. The bacteria, like salmonella, causes what 1.2 million people per year experience as food poisoning. Given the common nature of these types of illnesses, you should know what to watch for, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.
Varieties of salmonella are bacteria that are found in many common food items along the supply chain. These bacteria originate inside humans and animals in most cases, so the problem is a lack of sanitation by workers somewhere between the farm and your table. The current outbreak, from North Carolina, has been traced to rodent activity at a production facility. Feces is a common vector for this bacteria. Dirty water, improperly butchered meat, and unsanitary facilities are among the sorts of factors that influence the spread of this bacteria.
It is common, with 1.2 million cases per year and of which 1 million of which are from food related causes. It is usually seen in patients as a classically unpleasant food poisoning: diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps that resolve in 4 to 7 days. Advanced cases may involve dehydration and hospitalization due to the infection spreading, requiring antibiotics. “Food-borne illness is one of the most unpleasant and common causes of intestinal distress that we see in our practice, but one which is treatable. However, the causes are preventable but very often not through the fault of the patient.”, notes Dr. Marc Pesa of Scioto Urgent Care in Columbus, OH. It may not be impossible to prevent in cases with unfamiliar foods or cooks, but there are steps you can take to drastically reduce your risk.
Outside the home, try to dine at restaurants known for their quality or fresh ingredients and a record of high standards. Properly cooked and prepared foods, cooked to the correct temperatures, are usually safe to eat and feel confident in. Where you have doubt, you may find that avoiding eggs and meat proteins may reduce your risk of bacterial contamination. The restaurants themselves can prevent the spread by having tight quality control of their suppliers, practicing proper hand sanitation and cooking items to proper temperatures.
At home, much of the same rules apply. Cook the food fully, wash your hands, and watch for particularly at-risk food items. If you’re buying from the grocery store it’s important to keep your ears out for any recalls or improperly stocked food items, such as past sell-by date items. While not directly related, it can reflect that stores commitment to quality.
Salmonella and similar functioning bacteria are a common risk, but not one that can not be mitigated or treated. Reports of large outbreaks at particular facilities are concerning, and you should pay attention just in case you are ever prevented. If you encounter symptoms that go beyond the standard boundaries of normal illness, please visit a medical facility like Scioto Urgent Care or visit a hospital for further treatment. These illnesses can be treated but should not be taken lightly.
About Scioto Urgent Care
Scioto Urgent Care is one of central Ohio’s leading urgent care facilities. Located on the Northwest side of Columbus (near Dublin & Upper Arlington) the urgent care center has been treating patients since early 2004. Scioto Urgent Care is a convenient health care alternative when your regular family physician is closed or you can’t get a timely appointment.
The Northwest Columbus urgent care location is open everyday, including weekends and holidays. You do not need to be a regular Scioto Urgent Care health care patient to enjoy our convenience and medical care. No appointment is necessary. Just walk in and receive care when you need it most.
Scioto Urgent Care
4760 Sawmill Road
Columbus, OH 43235
United States of America
Phone: (614) 789-9464
Fax: (614) – 789-9575