How to Prevent Stomach Infections

When sitting down to eat, your biggest worry might be getting a touch of heartburn. So you're probably surprised when this simple act leaves you feeling like you've been run over by a truck. If a bout with a foodborne illness has you wondering if you can trust food again, don't despair -- you can avoid most culinary creepies with a little awareness and plenty of soap and water.

This article takes a look at eight stomach infections and infestations you'll want to avoid: botulism, dysentery, food poisoning, listeriosis, salmonella, stomach flu, tapeworms, and trichinosis. Here's a preview of the information you'll find:

  • Preventing BotulismThere are three forms of botulism: foodborne botulism, which is spread through contaminated food; infant botulism, which infects the immature digestive systems of young babies; and wound botulism, which enters the body through a wound in the skin. Botulism is a rare but dangerous infection that can be fatal. Once infected, botulism sufferers are usually treated with botulism antitoxin.
  • Preventing DysenteryDysentery, an inflammation of the intestines, is most commonly spread through poor hygiene and hand-washing habits, especially in children and food workers. Dysentery causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. To avoid this painful infection, follow strict hygiene practices and make sure your children do the same.
  • Preventing Food PoisoningFood poisoning can be caused by more than 100 different foodborne bacteria. Symptoms can include vomiting, headache, diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal cramps, and fever, although the severity of symptoms can vary. Observe food safety guidelines to avoid contaminated foods, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and often when handling raw foods.
  • Preventing ListeriosisListeriosis is spread through contaminated foods, such as undercooked or raw meat, unpasteurized dairy products, and processed foods such as hot dogs. A listeriosis infection is especially dangerous to pregnant women, infants, and the elderly. Practice safe food-handling and food-preparation procedures to avoid listeriosis.
  • Preventing SalmonellaSalmonella bacteria cause salmonellosis, which affects the intestinal tract and causes vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and fever. Severe cases can cause dehydration and require hospitalization. To avoid Salmonella bacteria, follow common-sense food-saftey practices and avoid raw or undercooked foods that could be contaminated.
  • Preventing Stomach FluAlthough the term "stomach flu" is a misnomer (influenza is a respriatory infection and has nothing to do with the stomach), we all know stomach flu as as uncomfortable illness accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. This infection is most often caused by rotavirus and noroviruses. To avoid stomach ailments, practice good hygiene and thoroughly clean your fruits and veggies.
  • Preventing TapewormsTapeworm larva can be found in raw meats, and those larva can then infect human hosts and mature into adult tapeworms. A tapeworm infestation can cause nausea, diahrrea, stomach pain, and general weakness. Keep away from uncooked and undercooked beef and pork to avoid infestation.
  • Preventing TrichinosisUndercooked pork and game meats are common carriers of Trichinella spiralis, the parasitical worms that cause trichinosis. A trichinosis infections can come with serious side effects such as heart and breathing problems, and it could take months to completely recover. It's easy enough to avoid trichinosis by thoroughly cooking meats before you eat them.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Preventing Botulism

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. To avoid botulism, don't give honey to children younger than 12 months old.

A poisonous nerve toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum causes botulism. Typically, there are three forms of botulism: You can get it by eating food that is already contaminated with the toxin (foodborne botulism); the bacteria can develop and produce the toxin in the still-developing intestines of babies who ingest botulism spores (infant botulism -- mature digestive systems eliminate these spores before they can do any damage); or the bacterial spores can enter the body through a wound, germinate, and produce the toxin (wound botulism).

Botulism Infection Information

Botulism is a rare, but potentially fatal, infection. Common symptoms include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, swallowing problems, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. The toxin causes paralysis that moves from the arms down the body, and it might affect the respiratory muscles, leading to respiratory failure.

Babies who develop infant botulism will be lethargic and constipated and have poor muscle tone, a weak cry, and little interest in eating. Foodborne and infant botulism symptoms usually show 18 to 36 hours after exposure to the toxin, but wound botulism symptoms take about a week to appear. Getting treatment for the illness early increases your chance of recovery and can help health authorities pinpoint the cause and keep others from eating contaminated food. Once diagnosed, affected people are treated with botulism antitoxin.

Who's at Risk for Botulism?

Botulism is a threat to everyone, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 110 cases are reported each year in the United States. The vast majority of those are infant botulism, which usually affects babies between 6 weeks and 6 months of age.

Defensive Measures Against Botulism

Proper food preparation will prevent botulism in most cases. Put these tips to work in your home:

  • Use caution when canning. Home canning, especially of foods that have a low acid content, is responsible for most foodborne botulism outbreaks. Be sure to follow proper canning procedures, which you can get from your county extension service. Check with your state's department of agriculture or a university for details.
  • Refrigerate infused oil. Oils that are infused with garlic or other herbs can be a ripe spot for botulism toxin production. Keep these products in the refrigerator.
  • Cool it. The bacteria that produce botulism toxin thrive at room temperature, so leaving warm food on the counter is an invitation for contamination. The botulism toxin won't begin forming until food is left out for at least 12 hours, but to be safe, don't let your baked potatoes or any other foods sit at room temperature. Eat them right after cooking or put them in the refrigerator.
  • Keep honey from your little honey. Honey and corn syrup can be homes for the spores that cause infant botulism. Avoid giving this sweet stuff to babies who are younger than 12 months old.

Clean any wound you have with an antiseptic and watch it closely for signs of infection. Because the botulism toxin only grows in the absence of oxygen, it is very important to keep wounds clean and free of dead tissue. See a health-care provider immediately if you have any concerns.Dysentery most commonly attacks children and has some very unpleasant symptoms, including severe diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Keep reading to learn how to treat and avoid a dysentery infection.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Preventing Dysentery

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Children between 2 and 4 are the most common victims of dysentery. Teaching children good hygiene habits can help prevent infection.

Dysentery is an inflammation of the intestines that causes severe, painful diarrhea. The bacterial form of dysentery, shigellosis, is caused by Shigella bacteria (shigellosis is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in the United States). Amebiasis, which is sometimes called amebic dysentery, is much less common and is caused by the one-celled Entamoeba histolytica parasite.

Dysentery Infection Information

Both shigellosis and amebiasis are marked by severe, sometimes bloody, diarrhea; fever; and stomach cramps. According to the CDC, about 18,000 cases of shigellosis are reported every year in the United States, but amebiasis usually afflicts people in developing countries. However, cases of amebiasis have occurred in the United States, usually after immigrants from developing countries transmit the parasite, travelers bring it back, or unsanitary living conditions help breed it.

Poor hand washing and hygiene habits, especially among children and food handlers, help spread both forms of dysentery. Vegetables harvested in a sewage-tainted field, flies that act as carriers of bacteria, and water supplies and swimming pools can all be sources of Shigella.

Unlike most bacterial causes of diarrhea, very few (fewer than 100) bacteria are needed to transmit shigellosis, so it spreads easily from person to person. Besides the infection itself damaging the intestines, Shigella bacteria produce toxins that cause further damage.

Shigella bacteria incubate in the body for a couple of days after exposure before symptoms appear, and they generally run their course in five to seven days (although you can still be contagious up to two weeks later). E. histolytica can incubate in the body for one to four weeks, and even then, only one in ten infected people will show any sign of illness. If you do get sick, symptoms should resolve themselves on their own, but you should drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. You may be prescribed antibiotics for either shigellosis or amebiasis to help lessen the severity and length of the illness.

The long-term outcome of both shigellosis and amebiasis is good. In some cases, shigellosis can cause Reiter's syndrome, and the parasite that causes amebiasis can spread outside the intestines, particularly to the liver.

Who's at Risk for Dysentery?

Children between the ages of 2 and 4 are the most common victims, as are their families. Anyone who works in a child-care facility or who works or lives in a long-term care facility is also at risk. Children younger than 2 who develop shigellosis may develop a high fever that can cause seizures, but this is rare. Amebiasis cases in the United States are most common to travelers who visit the developing world.

Defensive Measures Against Dysentery

Follow this advice to lower the risk of these diarrhea-causing invaders:

  • Teach toddlers to lather up. Educating your little ones about how to wash their hands, and being sure they do so every time they use the restroom, will help you spend less time at the doctor's office.
  • Ditch the diaper properly. If your baby has diarrhea, wrap up the soiled diaper in a plastic bag and dispose of it in a garbage can with a closed lid. After changing the diaper, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and clean the changing area with a bleach-based household cleaner.
  • Keep the pool clean. Teach little ones early on that the swimming pool is not a bathroom. When visiting a public pool, know where the restroom is and ask the kids often if they need to use it.
  • Be fickle about your food. Wash your vegetables and fruits thoroughly before you eat them or cook them.
  • Keep to yourself. If you have diarrhea, avoid contact with others. In addition, don't cook food or pour water for anyone until your symptoms are gone.
  • Go public. Letting your coworkers or fellow day-care buddies know about your symptoms may help stop an outbreak. Don't hesitate to let people know about your symptoms as soon as you can so they pay extra attention to their hygiene habits.

Foodborne bacteria can turn a lovely meal into your stomach's worst nightmare. Go to the next page to learn how to avoid food poisoning.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Preventing Food Poisoning

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Food poisoning usually results from food that is stored at the incorrect temperature.

There are as many as 100 different bacteria that can turn your meal into your stomach's worst nightmare. Some of the most harmful, and most common, foodborne bacteria that cause food poisoning are Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Campylobacter jejuni, and Clostridium perfringens.

All these bacteria do their damage in your body when you eat food that has been contaminated or handled improperly. Campylobacter infection (campylobacteriosis) is a direct bacterial infection that causes diarrhea and is often spread through undercooked chicken. Bacteria-produced toxins cause both Staph and Clostridium food poisonings. Staph toxin most often causes vomiting, and Clostridium toxin most often causes diarrhea.

Food Poisoning Information

Food poisoning symptoms can range from mild to severe, but they typically include vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, abdominal cramps, and fever. Dehydration is one of the most common complications. The toxin-induced illnesses begin within six to 24 hours of exposure, do not cause much fever, and usually resolve within one to two days. Illnesses related to direct bacterial causes, such as Campylobacter and Salmonella, begin two to four days after exposure, usually cause fever, and might last as long as a week.

Who's at Risk for Food Poisoning?

Anyone can get food poisoning, but infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with impaired immune systems are especially vulnerable to more severe cases.

Defensive Measures Against Food Poisoning

The best rule of thumb is to store your food at the proper temperature and completely cook it because bacteria thrive at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Habitually washing your hands, surfaces, and utensils when they come in contact with raw food and following safe food-handling guidelines at all times should keep you safe. Keeping picnic foods such as egg salad cold will go a long way toward keeping you out of the bathroom.

The bacteria that cause listeriosis most commonly infect meat, unpasteurized dairy products, and processed foods. To learn how to avoid this potentially dangerous infection, go to the next page.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Preventing Listeriosis

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. The Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, is usually found in soil or water.

You can catch this infection from foods tainted with the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, which lives in soil and water. Commonly infected foods include meat; unpasteurized dairy products (especially soft cheeses); and processed foods, such as cold cuts and hot dogs, which can pick up the bacterium after processing. Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can actually grow, although slowly, at refrigerator temperatures.

Listeriosis Infection Information

Symptoms of listeriosis may not suggest a food-associated cause. Initially, there may be no symptoms or just mild fever and aches. If pregnant women get listeriosis, the disease can cause miscarriage, serious infection in the baby, or even stillbirth. In some cases, the bacteria can spread to the nervous system and cause bacterial meningitis, especially in people whose immune system has been altered by chemotherapy or steroids. Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics for anywhere from two to six weeks, depending on the health status of the infected person.

Who's at Risk for Listeriosis?

The CDC estimates about 2,500 Americans contract a serious case of listeriosis each year, and 500 people die. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely than healthy adults and children to develop listeriosis. Newborns, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and people who are on certain medications (including asthma-treating glucocorticosteroids) all have a higher risk of being severely affected by listeriosis.

Defensive Measures Against Listeriosis

You can prevent listeriosis by practicing safe food-handling and food-preparation procedures. If you are pregnant or at a higher risk for the infection, you should give up processed soft cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert, and blue cheese; hot dogs; luncheon or deli meats; smoked seafood, unless it's in a cooked dish; any deli salads, such as ham, chicken, egg, tuna, or seafood salads; and any unpasteurized milk or milk products.

Salmonella bacteria cause salmonellosis, which comes with such unpleasant symptoms as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and headache. For some tips to avoid salmonellosis, keep reading.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Preventing Salmonella

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Avoid raw eggs and store eggs in the refrigerator to avoid salmonellosis.

Salmonellosis is caused by a number of Salmonella bacteria. According to the World Health Organization, more than 2,500 types of Salmonella bacteria exist, but the most common are Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella enteritidis.

Salmonella bacteria are transmitted through contaminated food products, such as raw or undercooked poultry, raw eggs, raw or undercooked beef, and unpasteurized milk. They can also be found on unwashed fruit or in food that is prepared on surfaces that were in contact with raw foods and not properly washed. Reptiles are prone to carrying certain Salmonella bacteria, so you might get infected if you have a pet snake or turtle.

Salmonellosis Infection Information

The CDC receives about 40,000 reports of salmonellosis a year, but because most people don't go to the hospital or report their illness, the organization estimates about 1.4 million people are actually infected annually. Salmonellosis affects the intestinal tract and causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and headache.

Most people with salmonellosis feel better in four to seven days without treatment, although severe diarrhea can require hospitalization for rehydration therapy. In rare cases, Salmonella bacteria can travel from the intestines to other organs in the body via the bloodstream, which could lead to death if left untreated. But even in those severe cases, treatment with antibiotics will lead to a complete recovery.

A small number of people with salmonellosis will develop a condition called Reiter's syndrome, a type of reactive arthritis that can cause painful joints, eye irritation, and painful urination. Reiter's syndrome symptoms can last for months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis.

Who's at Risk for Salmonellosis?

Anyone can get salmonellosis, but infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic conditions such as AIDS are most vulnerable to severe cases.

Defensive Measures Against Salmonellosis

It is easy to avoid meeting a Salmonella bacterium; you just need to follow some commonsense precautions:

  • Resist raw foods. You wouldn't munch on a raw chicken leg, but how often do you lick the leftover brownie batter? Caesar dressing, hollandaise sauce, cookie dough, and homemade mayonnaise all contain raw eggs and should be avoided.
  • Welcome well-done meats. Although checking your meat to see if it's no longer pink in the middle seems like it should be enough to ensure doneness, it may still be hiding Salmonella bacteria. Use a meat thermometer and be sure all meat registers in the safe zone.
  • Keep things cool. Refrigerate eggs, and thaw your meat in the refrigerator and keep it there until you're ready to cook it.
  • Be a savvy sanitizer. Wash all surfaces and utensils that come in contact with raw meat or eggs with soap and hot water or a bleach-based household cleaner, and wash your hands immediately after handling raw foods.
  • Leave the lizards (and snakes, turtles, and birds) alone. Avoid handling reptiles or birds (bird feces harbors Salmonella) or any kind of animal feces. If you do have any contact with these animals or with any other animals, thoroughly wash your hands.
  • Be aware of baby. Be especially cautious in your food preparation and presentation with babies (and the elderly). Don't cut up the chicken and then feed the little one without taking the time to wash your hands thoroughly in between. Also, never let a baby, or anyone else, drink unpasteurized milk, which can transmit a host of infectious organisms.

What we generally call "stomach flu" is actually a rotovirus or norovirus infection that causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and general discomfort. Go to the next page to learn about avoiding and treating the stomach flu.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Preventing Stomach Flu

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Good hygiene is one of the best ways to keep away the stomach flu.

The stomach flu is caused by a number of different viruses, but among the most common tummy invaders are the rotavirus and any of a number of strains of noroviruses.

Stomach Flu Information

"Stomach flu" is a misnomer -- influenza, or flu, is an infection of the respiratory system and has nothing to do with the discomfort in your gut that occurs when one of the previously mentioned viruses produce inflammation in your stomach and intestines. The results are usually nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps. You also might get a headache, chills, muscle aches, and fatigue.

Stomach flu viruses are transmitted through direct contact as well as indirect contact (touching something that's carrying the germs of an infected person, such as a countertop, a toy, or a toilet, and then touching your mouth). Noroviruses can also be spread through food (commonly shellfish, vegetables, and salad greens) and through contaminated water.

Once symptoms begin, the stomach flu usually runs its course in a few days. Because dehydration is the biggest complication of this infection, drinking plenty of fluids is vitally important, especially for children. You should feel much better after a few days and lots of rest, but the viruses can linger in your stool for two to three weeks.

Who's at Risk for Stomach Flu?

All stomach flu viruses are highly contagious, but the rotavirus preys almost exclusively on babies and young children. According to the CDC, the rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhea in infants and young children in the United States and sends 500,000 little ones to the doctor each year. In fact, almost all kids younger than 5 will have at least one bout with the rotavirus. Adults can get the rotavirus, but adult cases are rare and the effects are much milder. Noroviruses attack children and adults.Defensive Measures Against Stomach FluThese viruses can spread before you even know you're sick, so it's almost impossible to avoid them. You can, however, do your part to keep your home an unwelcome habitat for these digestive dangers:

  • Wash every time. Because stomach flu viruses abound in stool, it's vital to wash your hands thoroughly every time after you use the restroom or change a diaper. This is especially important if you handle food.
  • To get it clean, use chlorine. Wash all your surfaces, countertops, toilets, sinks, and toys with a disinfectant that has a chlorine base.
  • Be quick to sanitize. Wash all your soiled clothes, sheets, towels, etc., in soap and hot water immediately after you vomit or have diarrhea.    
  • Waste away. Flush your vomit or stool and keep the area around the toilet clean. If you're caring for an infant or toddler, dispose of diapers quickly and in a sanitary manner.
  • Wash what you eat. Thoroughly clean your fruits and veggies, and avoid raw oysters and other raw shellfish.
  • Get out of the kitchen. Stay away from food preparation until you've been free of symptoms for two to three days.

When tapeworms infest your body through contaminated food, you might experience nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, or more severe symptoms. Keep reading to learn how to keep this infestation out of your gut. This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Preventing Tapeworms

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Uncooked or undercooked foods, including fish, can carry larval tapeworms, which may infest humans and grow into adult tapeworms.

The most common tapeworm infestations in people are caused by Taenia solium (pork tapeworm), Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm), Hymenolepis nana (dwarf tapeworm), and Diphyllobothrium latum (broad fish tapeworm). The adult forms of these tapeworms live in humans, while the immature forms live in other animals.

Tapeworm Information

Tapeworms are acquired by eating uncooked or undercooked food that contains the immature form of the worm. Most people who have tapeworms never show any symptoms. However, when tapeworms cause problems, symptoms might include nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, and general weakness. The fish tapeworm can cause vitamin B12 deficiency.

People are usually not hosts for the immature (larval) forms of tapeworms, but a complication called cysticercosis occurs when people ingest the eggs of the pork tapeworm, usually through contact with someone who harbors the adult. Cysticercosis can affect the brain and cause seizures. Likewise, echinococcosis (which causes a cyst in the liver and/or lung) occurs when a person ingests the eggs of a tapeworm that generally lives in the intestines of dogs.

Tapeworms are easily treated with medication.

Who's at Risk for Tapeworms?

Tapeworms can infect anyone who eats contaminated food.

Defensive Measures Against Tapeworms

Like most foodborne infections, tapeworms can be avoided through good common sense, such as not eating raw or undercooked beef or pork and practicing good kitchen hygiene. If you're a sushi-eater, the good news is that most fish used in restaurants do not harbor the infectious form of the fish tapeworm.

While most people fully recover from a trichinosis infection, the symptoms are quite uncomfortable and can last for months. Go to the next page to learn how to avoid trichinosis.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Preventing Trichinosis

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Thoroughly cooking your food is the best  way to decrease the possibility of trichinosis.

Trichinosis is the infestation of the larvae of a parasitical worm species called Trichinella spiralis.

Trichinosis Information

You can contract trichinosis by eating animal flesh that is infected by T. spiralis larvae that aren't killed by cooking. Undercooked pork is a common trichinosis cause, as are game meats, such as bear, fox, and wolf. Trichinosis causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, and stomach cramps. A headache, cough, swollen eyes, achy joints and muscles, and itchy skin may follow these initial symptoms, and severe cases may cause heart and breathing problems.

The first set of symptoms (nausea, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea) will show up a day or two after eating infected food, but further symptoms (muscle pain and swollen eyes) come around two to eight weeks later. It might take weeks or months to get back to your old self after a bout with trichinosis, but most people do fully recover, either by taking antiparasite medications or by simply allowing the infestation to run its course.

Who's at Risk for Trichinosis?

According to the CDC, only about 12 cases of trichinosis are reported annually in the United States, but anyone who eats raw or undercooked meats, especially game meats, is at risk.

Defensive Measures Against Trichinosis

Be sure you cook all meats until they are safely done.

Stomach infections can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous, but simple steps such as washing your hands and thoroughly cooking foods can keep those infections away. Follow the tips in this article to keep your innards infection- and infestation-free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers magazine and Southern Living magazine. Mann formerly was an assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.