What Are the Dangers of Unrefrigerated Milk?

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Milk can be hazardous to your health if left unrefrigerated.
Milk can be hazardous to your health if left unrefrigerated. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Milk is generally known for it’s nutritional qualities. It contains calcium and vitamin D, which are important for bone health. However, if milk is not refrigerated for more than 10 minutes it can become hazardous to your health. Before drinking milk, you need to be aware of dangerous foodborne illnesses that can develop in milk that is not refrigerated properly.

Salmonella

Salmonella is a deadly foodborne illness that can develop in unrefrigerated milk. It occurs withing 48 hours and causes vomiting, abdominal cramping, headaches, nausea, diarrhea and fever. If unrefrigerated milk develops salmonella and comes in contact with other foods it will contaminate that food as well.

Shigella Bacteria

Shigella bacteria starts to develop in milk once it has reached room temperature. Like salmonella, it causes vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever, plus blood, puss or mucous in the stool. Symptoms subside within 6 days from onset. Shigella bacteria is also spread when proper sanitary habits, such as hand-washing, are not practiced.

Staphylococcus Aureus

Staphylococcus aureus can occur when milk reaches room temperature. Symptoms of consuming milk with stayphylococcus bacteria can occur within 6 hours. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually subside within three days, but may last longer if dehydration has occurred.

Listeria Monocytogenes

Listeria monocytogenes can cause symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and diarrhea. In severe cases it can cause an infection that spreads to the nervous system. If this occurs the individual that consumed the contaminated milk may experience convulsions, loss of balance and confusion. People with weakened immune systems such as pregnant women or the elderly may die from listeria.

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