10 Bugs That Can Make You Sick & How To Avoid Them
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We always hear about washing our hands before we fix or eat food. The experts tell us to refrigerate cold food and keep warm food warm. Otherwise, we are told, we will get sick.

Is that true?

How do we get sick anyway?

Well, it’s true! And here’s why: bacteria thrive in warm, not hot and cold environments. Here are some common bacteria that want to invade your kitchen and how to keep them away!


Salmonella are bacteria that find their way into raw poultry, pork, or eggs.

Symptoms Salmonella Cause: fever, cramps, diarrhea, and sometimes vomiting occurs 7 hours to 3 days after eating contaminated food.

How to Keep Salmonella Away:

  • Wash the area thoroughly after you prepare raw pork or poultry
  • Wash your hands after working with poultry, pork, or raw eggs
  • Heat pork and poultry until there is no pink left
  • Do not eat raw eggs


Campylobacter invade raw chicken and raw eggs.

Symptoms Campylobacter Cause: diarrhea, fever, nausea, abdominal pain, headache, and muscle pain appear 2 to 5 days after eating contaminated food.

How to Keep Campylobacter Away:

  • Cook raw chicken until no pink remains
  • Wash area thoroughly after preparing chicken
  • Wash hands after preparing chicken
  • If you drink raw milk, make sure it has been kept cold since milking

Staphylococcus Aureus

Staphylococcus Aureus is associated with too many foods to mention them all. It basically is able to invade food that has been handled quite a bit and left out above room temperature instead of being refrigerated.

Symptoms Staphylococcus Aureus Cause: vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps occur 3-8 hours after eating contaminated food.

How to Keep Staphylococcus Aureus Away:

  • Always wash hands before handling food
  • Refrigerate food before and after serving

Listeria Monocytogenes

Listeria Monocytogenes can be found in raw meat, raw milk, raw vegetables, hot dogs, processed meats, and salads. Unfortunately this bacteria can keep reproducing in refrigeration, though it slows it down.

Symptoms Listeria Monocytogenes Cause: diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting occurs 12 hours to a few weeks after eating contaminated food. In immunosuppressed individuals, this can become a serious illness.

How to Keep Listeria Monocytogenes Away:

  • Wash Raw Fruits and Vegetables Thoroughly
  • Keep Food Refrigerated

E. Coli

E. Coli can be found in undercooked ground beef, raw produce, raw apple cider, and raw milk

Symptoms E. Coli Cause: severe cramping and watery diarrhea that becomes bloody diarrhea.

How to Keep E. Coli Away:

  • Cook Ground Beef to Internal Temperature of 160 degrees F
  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly

Clostridium Botulinum

Clostridium Botulinum can find its way into damaged canned goods. 

Clostridium Botulinum Causes: Botulism is a very rare disease, but can be fatal. It presents with vertigo, nausea, double vision, inability to swallow, speech difficulty and progressive respiratory paralysis. 

How to Keep Clostridium Botulinum Away:

  • Do not use damaged or leaking canned food. 
  • Keep refrigerated food regrigerated
  • Do not feed honey to infants under 1 year of age

Clostridium Perfringens

Clostridium Perfringens invades meat and gravies that are not cooked at high enough temperatures and allowed to sit at room temperature. 

Clostridium Perfringens Causes: cramping and diarrhea occurring 8 to 22 hours after eating contaminated foods. 

Keep Clostridium Perfringens Away: 

  • Keep Hot Foods Hot 
  • Don’t Allow Foods to Sit Out 

Bacillus Cereus

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Bacillus Cereus invades rice and grain products, as well as dairy products.

Bacillus Cereus Causes: cramping and diarrhea 6-15 hours after eating contaminated food or nausea and vomting within 3-6 hours of eating contaminated food.

Keep Bacillus Cereus Away:

  • Keep Hot Foods Hot
  • Keep Cold Foods Cold

Vibrio Paraheamolyticus

Vibrio ParaHeamolyticus invades seafood, especially shellfish.

Vibrio Paraheamolyticus Causes: nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting 1 to 4 days after eating contaminated food.

Keep Vibrio Paraheamolyticus Away:

  • Keep Seafood Refrigerated
  • Avoid Eating Raw Seafood


Shigella can make its way into salads, raw produce, and dairy products due to unsanitary handling of food or contaminated water.

Shigella Causes: severe watery diarrhea and cramping.

Keep Shigella Away:

  • Wash Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Thoroughly
  • Wash Hands Before Handling Food

What Can A Mother Do?

Don’t live in fear, but be wise in the way you prepare your food.

  • Wash hands before handling food of any kind.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before you put them away.
  • Cook meat to a safe temperature.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Clean thorough after working with raw poultry, pork, or eggs.
  • Keep a clean kitchen.
  • Never use food that is questionable.
  • Throw food away after its been out for a long time.

It’s easy to stay safe from these bugs! We just have to use wisdom in our kitchens.

God bless you!


Meredith Curtis

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