What Is The Treatment For Listeria? Antibiotics Help Fight It

Lovers of frozen veggies all across the United States have been having a rough time lately because of a massive recall that hit freezers everywhere. Recalled products could contain the potentially deadly Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, and eight people have been hospitalized as a result. All of the potentially contaminated products were packaged by a company called CRF Frozen Foods in Washington state, but they're sold all over the place, including Safeway, Trader Joe's, and Costco. Because listeria is sometimes deadly, it's important that these chains take serious precautions to protect customers. That's why the recall now includes 382 frozen fruits and vegetables sold under 42 brand names. But consumers have to protect themselves, too, so it's vital to ask: In case you do happen to become exposed, what is the treatment for listeria?

First, it's important to know whether you, your kid, or anyone else you know may have inadvertently eaten any of the recalled product. The full list includes organic and non-organic broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, edamame, green beans, Italian beans, kale, leeks, lima beans, onions, peas, pepper strips, and many, many more, so it's definitely worthwhile to review it in full. Most people with healthy immune systems can fight off listeria, but if it gets into the bloodstream, it can cause listeriosis, which kills one in five victims.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotics are the main treatment associated with listeria infections. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, and aches, nausea, and diarrhea, so the CDC urges people in high-risk categories who experience any of those symptoms within two months of eating contaminated food to seek medical help.

The CDC considers the following groups to be "high-risk":

  • Pregnant women and their newborns
  • Older adults
  • People with weakened immune systems

The stakes aren't as high for everyone else, according to the Mayo Clinic. While treatment for a listeria infection varies depending on severity, a healthy person with a mild case may not require any treatment at all. Because a listeria infection can cause pregnant women to miscarry, it's especially critical that they receive prompt antibiotic treatment. The Mayo Clinic also notes that a listeria infection can cause the life-threatening complication of bacterial meningitis, so anyone who experiences high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, or sensitivity to light should seek emergency care.

Remember, it can take as long as two months for an infected person to experience symptoms, so the full effects of this outbreak may not be fully known until that timeframe has passed. Toss products that might be infected, stay vigilant and be sure to seek medical help if you suspect you or a loved one may have a listeria infection.