Prevention is Key: How to Protect Yourself During a Salmonella Outbreak

Did you know, according to CDC estimation, around 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths happen in the United States every year due to Salmonellosis? It is a common bacterial infection caused by the salmonella bacteria which causes diarrheal symptoms. While most people recover on their own once this condition runs its course. However, if the infections spread to other organs in the body, it can be life-threatening. So, you should know the preventive strategies to keep yourself safe during outbreaks. Learn preventive strategies to protect yourself during a Salmonella Outbreak in this article. Log on to for a consultation.

Identifying outbreaks

To identify salmonella outbreaks, you can use public health departments as CDC requires medical facilities to track reported cases of infection. Clinical laboratories send isolates of Salmonella to public health laboratories to specify types of salmonella and compare them with other Salmonella in the community.

If they notice many cases occurring at the same time in a restaurant, food, or water supply problem then, correction support is sent by the public health department. In most cases, people don’t seek medical care for the early symptoms of salmonellosis to run its course, but those who are willing to seek help give data that is used for monitoring for outbreaks.

For example, recent outbreaks include shell eggs, coconut, chicken salad, raw sprouts, kratom, pet guinea pigs, and pet turtles. It can drill down to see the specifics of outbreaks.

So, if you hear any news reports of recalls of food due to concern for salmonella or food-borne illnesses, then you should check whether what you bought are not recalled products. Avoid consuming them.

Prevention strategies

It may be difficult to prevent salmonellosis because the most common sources of spread of contaminated food look, smell, and taste normal. However, there are several prevention measures you can take to lower the risk of salmonella infection, including:

  1. Food preparation and storage:

As food is the most common source of transmission, here are some preventive measures you should take while preparing or storing food, including:

  • Wash your hands before and after preparing the food.
  • You should keep your kitchen work surfaces and utensils clean after preparing each food item.
  • Use cloth towels rather than sponges to clean kitchen surfaces. However, you need to wash it in hot water after every use. Instead, you can use disposable paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces.
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before cooking.
  • Peel or discard the outer layer of fruits and vegetables. If you want to eat the skin, then scrub heartily.
  • When shopping, keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from the other food items. Also, store them separately in the refrigerator.
  • After making contact with raw meat or poultry, make sure you wash your hands, kitchen work surfaces, utensils, plates, bowls, etc. with soap and water. Otherwise, you might use those unwashed utensils and other items for food in serving meals, increasing the risk of transmission.
  • Having separate cutting boards for raw meat is a promising idea to prevent infection as cleaning may not remove all the bacteria.
  • Don’t work on raw poultry or meat near an infant.
  • Cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly before consuming.
  • Avoid eating or drinking raw eggs or unpasteurized milk.
  • If you get served undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs in a restaurant or hotel, don’t hesitate to send it back to the chef for further cooking.
  • To store food in refrigerators, you should keep the temperature at 40 F or below.
  • Cover the refrigerated produce before you use it.
  • You can keep prepared fruit salads or other cut-produce items in the refrigerator until before serving. Remove food items that have been out of the refrigerator for more than 4 hours.
  • Avoid drinking untreated water that could be contaminated by animal waste.
  • Pet handling:

If you have pets at home or work, you can take these steps to lower the risk of getting salmonella:

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water after you:
    • Play or handle your pet.
    • Give food, and toys, or wash them.
    • Handle their waste, including changing cat litter, scooping up after your dog, etc.
    • Clean animal habitats such as tanks, bowls, and cages.
      • While cleaning tanks, don’t dispose of water in sinks that are used for washing utensils or food preparation.
    • Handle reptiles and amphibians
      • Usually, they have Salmonella on their bodies even when they appear clean and healthy.
  • Keep your pets away from areas where you store and prepare food.
  • If you have a child aged 5 or younger, supervise your children around animals and avoid making them touch your child’s face or kiss. Assist your child in handwashing after they play with an animal.
  • Farming and farm animals:

If you buy poultry or chicks from a farm, make sure it is live poultry or chicks from hatcheries certified by the USDA National Poultry Improvement Plan (USDA NPIP). It’s best to avoid getting poultry from show breeders or other backyard farmers.

Besides that, you can use these tips to avoid getting salmonella infection when handling farm animals, including:

  • Clean their coop regularly by wearing gloves and shoe protectors or shoes that only you use in the coop.
  • Change their food and water daily.
  • Wash your hands after you handle a chicken, collect eggs, or both. Additionally, you should wash your hands when you use a sink that isn’t used for food preparation.
  • Clean their feeding bowls and other items outdoors or in a sink that you don’t use for food preparation and disinfect it with bleach.
  • Don’t keep birds in the house and away from areas including outdoor patios, where you prepare or eat food.
  • Avoid eating, drinking, or smoking around the birds.
  • Don’t allow your children under age 5 around your birds and supervise other children and adults to ensure they handle birds safely.
  • If any bird is sick, separate it from the rest of the birds and contact your veterinarian.
  • Ensure your birds get all recommended vaccines to prevent infections.
  • If you use chicken manure for garden compost, then you must cure it for at least 45 days (about 1 and a half months) before use.
  • Don’t kiss backyard poultry, or snuggle them especially, before touching your face or mouth.

If you consume homegrown eggs, then use these safety tips:

  • Collect eggs each morning and afternoon.
  • Clean them outdoors with a brush or cloth.
  • Throw away cracked or dirty eggs.
  • Refrigerate eggs for two hours or less.
  • If you sell your eggs, follow all local regulations and licensing requirements. And if you eat homegrown eggs, cook them thoroughly and don’t consume them raw.
  • Travel:

If you’re planning to travel, make sure you talk with your healthcare provider or visit a travel health clinic 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months) before you travel to learn what guidelines you should follow before and after travel, including:

  • Wash your hands frequently and carry hand sanitizers with you.
  • Eat and drink safely in the area.
  • Check the salmonella status online before traveling.

We don’t know when a salmonella outbreak will occur. While it’s not severe in most cases. But if it spreads to other organs then it can be life-threatening. So, you must follow the above-mentioned prevention measures during a salmonella outbreak to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.

Don’t ignore your symptoms of salmonella or any other foodborne illness, visit our infectious diseases specialist in Brooklyn to get the best treatment and preventive options that keep you safe and healthy. Our infectious disease doctors make sure your condition gets diagnosed and treated properly. For more information or to make an appointment, call us to get a consultation. Call us on +1-347-384-5690. If you need any information on infections, log on to  to get a consultation. We have the best doctors that can help you and improve your quality of life!