150 people have come down with Salmonella symptoms after consuming Indiana cantaloupe. Although not as bad as Listeria, which is particularly dangerous for the very old and very young, most people recover from Salmonella symptoms.
Why is cantaloupe particularly susceptible to bacteria like Listeria and Salmonella? Some attribute it to its porous nature—but more importantly it’s more often processed (pre-sliced and packaged) then other fruits, giving it ample time to become contaminated.
Salmonella symptoms don’t start immediately, and resemble that of other types of food poisoning—stomach aches, diarrhea, and fever. Most people recover within a week, but those with weakened immune systems—due to medication, illness, or advanced age, should consult a doctor. Always consult a doctor about food poisoning symptoms if you start to become dehydrated, have a very high fever, or can’t keep down food for more than 24 hours.
If you have a weakened immune system, limit your exposure to prepackaged foods, from fruits, to frozen dinners, to pre-made salads (all of which have been a source of food poisoning this summer). It’s also a reminder to practice safe cooking at home: wash fruit before you peel or cut it so that germs don’t contaminate the meat of it, and always wash any surface that uncooked meat or eggs have touched.
If you start to feel Salmonella symptoms (or any other food poisoning), monitor your temperature, drink fluids constantly, and eat foods that are gentle for your stomach like crackers, toast, and yogurt (which should have live and active cultures on the label, indicating it will replenish your GI tract with good bacteria).
How have the food poisoning outbreaks affected your shopping habits? Let us know in the comments!