How to defend against listeria

by Phil Lowe

With the coronavirus taking over our news cycle and very lives it is hard to think of anything else. At this time it is difficult to realize that any other diseases even exist. All of our news headlines are talking about deaths from coronavirus but there are still other sick people too. A recent listeria outbreak confused both ordinary people and many medical professionals. So what is listeria?

Listeria is a bacteria found in soil, water, and animal poo. Things that have been grown in the ground are the most at risk of being contaminated by listeria but it can be found in meat, milk, and other foods. Listeria is particularly dangerous because it thrives in cold conditions, unlike most bacteria that will die. In 2015 it was actually found in ice cream and led to three deaths.

Listeria infections spike every year. In America, it is estimated that around 1,600 people get sick from infection with about five dying. The symptoms are so similar to the flu that most don’t even realize they have a different infection. You could experience nausea, aches, chills, diarrhea, and fever. The majority of people who get a listeria infection don’t even realize that is what they had, those that get more serious infections can be treated with antibiotics. Deaths usually occur when people don’t seek medical guidance early enough as they think they just have nasty flu.

To help fight against the chances of getting listeria, make sure you cook all your food thoroughly. You really need to scrub fruits and vegetables thoroughly as well as rinsing before eating. Most people hold an apple under a tap for about three seconds and pat themselves on the back for rinsing their vegetables. If you have not washed it thoroughly first that will do little good. You need to wash your fruit and vegetables thoroughly to make sure you remove any bacteria that are hanging on. Eating leftovers quickly is a good idea too. Of course, if some ice cream gets listeria there is little you can do to prevalent that. We definitely don’t think you should start washing your ice cream. However, it is a good idea to store things properly in your fridge and freezer to avoid cross-contamination where possible.

Recently there was another listeria outbreak in the United States. The bacteria was found on some enoki mushrooms. It had caused nearly 40 people to get sick and killed four people to date. The key issue here was again people misdiagnosing their symptoms and not going to the doctor quickly enough. One of the indirect issues of the coronavirus is that many people who need to see doctors are avoiding them because they don’t want to overload the hospitals that are already under incredible stress. If you need to go to a doctor, go to a doctor. If you are fine they will tell you to go home and you won’t take much of their time. It is better to check and know than to get really sick and find out the hard way.

In the recent listeria outbreak, it was a package of mushrooms from Sun Hong Foods that was at fault. The CDC is now warning anyone that has mushrooms from Sun Hong Foods that they should not eat them and are particularly worried about pregnant women, and those over 65.

While the coronavirus is the key concern at the moment we must still be vigilant and wary of other illnesses. The good thing about the pandemic is that it has made people improve their sanitation. The bad thing is that it has caused many ill people to avoid seeking medical health. Please keep your common sense intact during this strange time.

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