Why You Shouldn’t Kiss your Lizard … and 3 Other Sources of Salmonella

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Everyone knows the story of the girl who kisses the frog and ends up with a prince.  But unless you work at the poison center, you may not know the story of the girl that kisses the lizard and gets sick with Salmonella.

Lizards, snakes, turtles and frogs carry Salmonella. It generally does not make the animals sick.  You, on the other hand, might not be so lucky if you touch these pets, their cages or aquariums, their water or other things that they touch.  If you put your hands in your mouth, nose or eyes, the salmonella that the animals normally carry can make you sick.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a type of bacteria. If you are exposed to Salmonella, it may take 12 hours to 3 days for you to get sick. You might feel a mix of nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. Sometimes you might have a fever.  Salmonella poisoning can be very serious for people who are very young, very old or not very healthy. If your immune system is not doing well, it is an especially big concern. For the rest of us, it will not be too serious, but it won’t be fun. It is best to avoid it.  Learn more about Salmonella.

What can you do to avoid Salmonella?

After your touch your lizard or its environment, wash your hands really well! What exactly does that mean? Use warm, running water and soap and count to 20 while you lather the soap between your hands. Rinse well and dry your hands with a clean towel. A disposable paper towel is best. You can also use hand sanitizer if soap is not available.

Where else can you find Salmonella?

  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Raw eggs, poultry or meat
  • Raw vegetables cut with contaminated utensils or on a contaminated cutting board

Remember, if you think you are sick from Salmonella, call us at 1-800-222-1222. If you are throwing up a lot or have diarrhea, drink plenty of water.

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