We're always very mindful of what foods we have in our refrigerator and their expiration dates. We do that so we don't cook something that is old and get everyone in the house sick. We also double check our meals when we go out to eat to make sure that everything was cooked properly so we don't end up sick later. If you're not careful, however, you could be bringing a disease into your home without even knowing it, salmonella. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has mapped out the states with the most outbreaks this year with Texas having a high number of illnesses from it.

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What is salmonella?

Salmonella is bacterial disease that affects the intestines of its host. Salmonella is actually very common and can be found in poultry, pork, beef, and other foods, even vegetables. The thing about salmonella is that it can easily be killed through proper cooking. Undercooked foods can spread salmonella as can someone who does not wash their hands properly and then touches food. Salmonella can even be contracted by handling reptiles like snakes.

What are the symptoms of contracting salmonella?

It takes between 8 to 72 hours for the symptoms of salmonella to show up. You could experience abdominal pain or cramps, diarrhea or have a low grade fever. These symptoms can last for a few days and not require any medications to get better. However, if symptoms last more than a few days, you should seek medical attention as something more serious could be happening.

Handling Chickens or Reptiles

Besides undercooked foods, another way to contract salmonella is by handling chickens, baby chicks or reptiles. If you are working with chickens, wash your hands thoroughly once you're done. You should also wash any eggs you bring in or any vegetables from the garden as these could have salmonella on the outside.

Salmonella Outbreaks in the U.S.

As wild as this sounds, New York state has had more salmonella outbreaks in 2023 than Texas. Texas is still on the bottom end of the high number of outbreaks in the U.S., though. As seen in the map below, the areas in dark blue, which includes Texas, have reported 24 to 49 outbreaks.

2023 Salmonella Outbreaks - CDC
2023 Salmonella Outbreaks - CDC

So if you want to avoid contracting salmonella, always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or handling any live stock and make sure your food is cooked properly. Doing both of those will greatly reduce the chances of you or your family getting sick.

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