Safe food practices
Find out how you can avoid these two nasty food-borne illnesses.
Caroline avatar
Written by Caroline
Updated over a week ago

You'll be more wary when you're in the kitchen after reading about these two food-borne illnesses, Salmonella and Campylobacteriosis. It's important that you're practicing adequate food safety to ensure that you don't end up infected.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella infection is a type of gastroenteritis (or ‘gastro’). It is caused by a bacteria called Salmonella and is most likely to occur after eating foods that have been contaminated or in some cases when you have come into contact with someone who has the infection themselves. It usually lasts between four to seven days while symptoms often start six to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria.

What are the symptoms of Salmonella?

Symptoms can include:

  • Headache

  • Fever

  • Stomach cramps

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Loss of appetite

What causes Salmonella and how is it spread?

Salmonella is caused by under-cooked food such as meat, poultry and eggs and can also be spread by cross-contamination. For example, this can happen when food has come into contact with a cutting board that was used to cut up raw or undercooked meat beforehand. Salmonella bacteria can also spread through another person's hands, so it's always important to wash your hands when you're preparing food. It can also be transmitted from animals to humans through animal faeces.

How can Salmonella be prevented?

  • Salmonella can be prevented by making sure you're cooking your food thoroughly and avoiding raw or undercooked meat.

  • By always washing your hands when preparing food and making sure that food is stored at an appropriate temperature so bacteria can't grow.

  • If you're thawing frozen food it should be done in a fridge or a microwave. If you're leaving your food out at room temperature for long periods of time Salmonella is more likely to occur.

  • Avoid cross-contamination by using different chopping boards and utensils when preparing raw and fresh foods. Make sure you wash and dry everything thoroughly before reusing.

How is Salmonella treated?

By resting and drinking water, most people find that they recover from the illness within a week. The elderly, young children and those with poor immune systems can become more affected by Salmonella. If symptoms last longer than a couple of days, or you have a fever over 38.5 degrees Celsius then you should visit your GP or contact Sonder who can provide support.

What is Campylobacteriosis?

Campylobacteriosis is another common type of gastrointestinal disease caused by bacteria known as Campylobacter. It's usually caused by contaminated food that comes from animals such as poultry, cattle, pigs and sheep but can come from contaminated water as well. Symptoms can often develop within two to five days after infection.

What are the symptoms of Campylobacteriosis?

Symptoms can include:

  • Diarrhoea

  • Stomach cramps

  • Fever lasting from one to two weeks

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

What causes Campylobacteriosis and how is it spread?

Campylobacteriosis bacteria can be found in the faeces of farm animals and household pets. It can be passed to humans when they eat undercooked meat, drink contaminated water or milk or handle infected animals without washing their hands afterwards. The bacteria can also be spread from human to human contact when one person does not wash their hands after coming in contact with the bacteria.

How can Campylobacteriosis be prevented?

  • Campylobacteriosis can be prevented by cooking all raw foods, especially meat, and storing all food either below 5 degrees Celsius or above 60 degrees Celsius.

  • By washing any kitchen utensils and chopping boards after using them when cooking to avoid cross-contamination.

  • If you are infected with Campylobacteriosis, make sure you do not go back to work until symptoms have stopped. Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food and make sure you're cleaning bathrooms and other surfaces regularly.

How is Campylobacteriosis treated?

Usually people will recover from Campylobacteriosis without treatment. Individuals with, or at risk for, severe illness may need antibiotic treatment. It is important to note that if you have Campylobacteriosis or Salmonella and have the following severe symptoms you will need to seek urgent medical attention or call Sonder’s 24/7 health professionals for advice, including:

  • Bloody diarrhoea

  • Frequent vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquids down (which can lead to dehydration).

  • Signs of dehydration, including little or no urination, a very dry mouth and throat, or feeling dizzy when you stand up.

  • Diarrhoea that lasts more than three days

Related reading:

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: NSW Health, HealthDirect and Better Health Channel.

Image credit: Kyle Mackie on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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