Here's How You Can Prevent Salmonella

If you're the kind of person who likes to eat raw cookie dough, then you're probably also the kind of person who is tired of hearing that they should stop because they might develop salmonella from the raw eggs. And, sad to say, the advice is sound.

The CDC warns that eating raw cookie dough, or any form of raw or insufficiently cooked eggs, can cause a Salmonella infection. They even go so far as to say that anyone who handles raw dough should wash their hands before handling any other food, since the bacteria can otherwise be passed on.

The Cleveland Clinic describes salmonella as one of the most common kinds of food poisoning. It presents with stomach cramps and diarrhea that last between four and seven days. Even those are the mild cases, though. Certain groups are at risk for severe salmonella which can lead to dehydration and the inability to keep food or liquid down, requiring medical intervention. And cookie dough isn't the only way to contract it. Or to stop it.

Maintain proper hygiene habits

There are several steps that people can take if they want to reduce their risk of salmonella. The first, and perhaps the most important, is to maintain consistent and stringent hand washing habits. The Minnesota Department of Health states that people should always wash their hands before handling or eating food, after going to the bathroom, and after touching animals or being near animal pens or feces.

Another important step in preventing Salmonella infection is ensuring that food is served and stored at the proper temperatures. The CDC states that food exposed to hot temperatures after cooking should be chilled within one hour of serving. Examples include leftovers in a hot car or food served at a summer picnic. The Cleveland Clinic states in no uncertain terms that Salmonella is more common in the summer than the winter, and all those hot summer days are likely the culprit.

The Clinic also suggests washing your hands and cleaning all cooking utensils and cutting boards, as well as prep surfaces, after working with raw meat. Finally, the Clinic advises against kissing reptiles and birds, as they may carry Salmonella.