Listeriosis is a serious infection, and it especially affects pregnant women. According to the CDC, pregnant women are 10 times more likely to contract listeriosis. So, how does this condition happen, and how can you prevent it?
Skip the Deli
Meat is one of the most prevalent carriers of the listeria bacteria that cause listeriosis. Therefore, pregnant women should avoid hot dogs, lunch meats, cold cuts and other meat from the deli, like bologna or dry sausages. However, these items can be consumed if cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. It’s important to keep fluids from hot dog and lunch meat packaging away from other foods, utensils and prep surfaces. Steer clear from refrigerated meat spreads and smoked seafood that is not in a cooked dish or canned.
Cheese can be a culprit for infection, too. Unpasteurized milk can contain listeria, and it is popular in some kinds of soft cheese. Make sure you look for the word “pasteurized” on the label of any milk or cheese products.
Pick the Right Produce
Fruit and vegetables are generally safe and a great source of nutrition during pregnancy, but there are a few items that require extra care. Raw sprouts, like alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean, as well as cut melon pose risks. The sprouts carry listeria even if they are refrigerated, and cut melon should be eaten right away or refrigerated for no more than seven days.
Symptoms for listeriosis include fatigue, muscle aches and a fever. If you are experiencing any of these after eating one of the off-limits foods above, consult with your doctor.