7 Tips to Prevent E. coli Infection: Simple Ways to Protect Yourself

Prevent Infection

What is E. coli Infection?

E. coli (Escherichia coli) is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in food and water. Though most E. coli strains are harmless, some have the potential to cause serious illness and even death. An infection with a dangerous strain of E. coli may require hospitalization and, in rare cases, can lead to kidney failure or death.

7 Tips to Prevent E. coli Infection

E. coli infection can be difficult to prevent, but there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your risk. Here are 7 tips to help protect yourself and your health:

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1. Wash your hands thoroughly

One of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce your risk of E. coli infection is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling food, after using the restroom, and after coming into contact with animals.

2. Cook food thoroughly

Make sure that all foods that may contain E. coli are cooked to the proper internal temperature. Meats should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71°C), while eggs should be cooked until the yolks and whites are firm.

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3. Don’t cross-contaminate

Be careful to avoid cross-contamination when preparing food. Keep raw meats, poultry, and seafood separate from cooked and ready-to-eat foods, and always use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils for each.

4. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products

Unpasteurized dairy products, such as unpasteurized milk, soft cheese, and ice cream, may contain E. coli and should be avoided or consumed in moderation.

5. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables carefully

Fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before eating. If you’re eating fresh produce, check to make sure the skin is intact, and avoid consuming any bruised or damaged fruits or vegetables.

6. Don’t drink untreated water

Untreated water could contain E. coli, so it’s best to avoid drinking it. When traveling, stick to bottled or treated water. If you must use untreated water, boil it for at least one minute before drinking.

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7. Practice food safety in restaurants

When eating out, make sure that your food is properly cooked and that all ingredients are fresh.Avoid raw or undercooked meats, eggs, and seafood, and be sure to ask about the ingredients in any dishes that you order.

The Bottom Line

E. coli is a type of bacteria that can cause serious illness. By following these tips for proper food preparation, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding unpasteurized dairy products, you can significantly reduce your risk of infection.

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