Keeping this dangerous bacteria out of your foods and out of your body.
If you’ve ever dealt with food poisoning, you would probably prefer to never deal with it again. However, E. coli (Escherichia coli) isn’t your run-of-the-mill food poisoning. With the ability to potentially result in kidney disease in children and seniors, E. coli is one bacterium to avoid at all costs.
Get more about this easily spread bacteria and how you can keep it at arm’s length by reading below.
At the Root
E. Coli begins in an animal’s intestines and makes its way to humans through a variety of means. Most often, the bacteria show up in two types of food: undercooked ground beef and raw vegetables. However, it can be found in most any food and can even make its way into your water.
In order to be infected with E. coli, all you have to do is eat or drink infected food or drink. You can also contract the bacteria by coming in contact with a person who has E. coli. If infected and the bacteria remains in your intestines, you may not have any negative side effects. On the other hand, if it makes its way to your blood stream, you can expect to have the typical food poisoning symptoms. There will be diarrhea; nausea and vomiting; and cramping, pain, and tenderness in your abdomen. For rare cases in which your symptoms last more than a week or so, contact your physician to ensure you aren’t at risk for further complications.
Don’t want to wind up with life-stopping diarrhea? No problem. With a few easy steps you should be able to stay away from E. coli and avoid the embarrassing complications it could bring your way.
To avoid E. coli, you’ll need to…
…keep raw foods away from each other and away from the table. To be fully effective at this, always use hot water to wash plates, cutting boards, and utensils that come in contact with raw foods of all kind. You should also avoid preparing food on any surface that will be used for eating.
…stay away from hamburgers that aren’t cooked thoroughly. Sure, you may love your hamburger to be bleeding on your plate, but you’ll have to forego your preference for safety if you want to avoid E. coli. In fact, you should only go for burgers that are brown all the way through to ensure there isn’t a hint of E. coli on your dinner menu. Can’t stand the thought of a completely browned hamburger? Stab your burger with a meat thermometer and make sure it registers at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius).
…scrub down your raw produce with force! Quickly rinsing off fruits and vegetables may make you feel better when cooking, but it could leave you feeling awful after eating. To get rid of every strain of E. coli that may be hiding in your produce, you’ll need to thoroughly wash your produce before using it to cook or eating it raw.
…go with pasteurized drinks. Though you can’t completely avoid E. coli in drinks, anything that has been pasteurized is less likely to house E. coli. Juices, milks, and ciders often come pasteurized. Drinking these instead of their unpasteurized competitors helps you fend off E. coli infections.
Another Best Practice
In addition to carefully cooking all of your food properly and drinking pasteurized milk, wash your hands frequently to reduce your risk for contracting and passing on E. coli from and to those with whom you come in contact on a daily basis.