It's a bleak, thought but as humans, we can never truly be safe - sadly, death is always just a moment away. Thankfully we aren't in as immediate a danger as our forefathers, but who's to say a car doesn't hit us, or an Acme piano doesn't fall on our heads, or worse yet, we suffer a slow, painful death from food poisoning?
We've heard recent stories of maggots being found in chicken, bad burritos and even vegans being spiked but nothing sounds as horrifying as getting a life-changing liver disease from your local convenience store.
7-Eleven customers in Utah, get ready to take some big gulps, as health authorities warn that a location in the Salt Lake City suburbs could have exposed as many as 2,000 people to Hepatitis A. You'd better put down those heat lamp pizzas and chicken wings.
The county's health department says that people who visited a West Jordan store between December 26 and January 3 might be at risk if they used the bathroom, ate fresh fruit or hot food items “such as pizza, hot dogs, chicken wings, or taquitos”.
The health department says you are also at risk if you got any self-serve soda fountain drinks or Slurpees. So, to summarize, more or less the only reasons everyone goes to 7-Eleven. Officials did add that bottled drinks and prepackaged foods don't pose a threat.
Officials traced the scare to an employee who: “worked while ill and potentially handled certain items in the store." They add that this person probably got it from the wider Hep A outbreak that's sickened more than 150 people statewide since January 1.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A include jaundice, nausea, fatigue, and fever, and could take up to a month to even show. For what it's worth, Hepatitis A rarely causes long-term problem,s but it can reoccur once the symptoms have left. The ultimate worst case scenario can lead to liver failure, in which case you'll need a transplant to avoid an untimely death.
Since the discovery of the possible exposure, the location has been sanitized to the health department's standards. Still, any customers of that specific Utah location may want to look into getting the injection. Those who are already fully vaccinated against Hepatitis A should be alright.
Those who are not vaccinated, though, should heed this warning seriously. Unlike Chipotle's food problems (E-coli and salmonella mainly - bugs that mostly affect the elderly) the Hepatitis A virus isn't ageist. It is capable of living "for months" outside the body.
You can acquire it from a sick person who simply forgot to wash their hands, and the aforementioned symptoms take over a month to appear and can last up to eight weeks. If you are in any doubt, I implore you to get yourself over to a doctor.
Get yourself over to one quickly, as officials add that the last day that anyone who enjoyed a Boxing Day Slurpee could benefit from the injection was Wednesday. Otherwise, be sure you are always washing your hands so we don't have a Planet of the Apes situation on our hands.