It seems weird to be talking about Listeria when there are still outbreaks of Norovirus and other viral stomach flus going around, but there have been enough warm days that Listeria is already an issue.

While there have been a few Listeria recalls this year, the latest is a nationwide cheese recall of soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses.

What are the different types of stomach flu?

Norovirus and similar winter stomach flus are spread more virulently than summer ones. Norovirus causes both vomiting and diarrhea, but the germs spread farther than you think (by about 20 feet) and require stronger chemical cleaners to destroy.

Moving into spring, Salmonella starts to become more prevalent. Though it’s possible to get it year round from poor hygiene somewhere along the food processing line, during spring we spend more time outdoors and around animals that carry salmonella (even from petting, not just eating).

And as weather heats up, Listeria comes into play. Warm weather encourages the bacteria to propagate, and it creeps into manufacturing here and there, leading to recalls.

What can you do about Listeria? Watch for recalls, and follow safe food guidelines (picnics are the perfect warm-but-not-hot opportunity for bacteria like Listeria to grow.

You don’t always know ahead of time that your food isn’t contaminated. Lots of scenarios come into play, from eating out, to eating something you bought before finding out about a recall. So take care of your gastrointestinal tract, and help it be more ready for unexpected pathogens. Lots of vegetables, and regularly taking a probiotic (either a supplement like Flora MGR or a fermented food) encourage healthy growth of the good bacteria in your stomach, which help crowd out and fight off invading pathogens.

With multiple types of food poisoning out and about, take care and then enjoy your meals.

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