Salmonella infection is usually marked by stomach cramps, diarrhea and oftentimes fever and vomiting. Generally, it takes 12-72 hours for the symptoms to manifest after ingestion of the causative bacteria.
The symptoms typically last for 4-7 days and many individuals are able to recover without requiring treatment. In case an individual becomes sick suddenly, care at a healthcare facility is required since dehydration brought about by the condition can be dangerous.
Who are at risk for salmonella?
Any individual can acquire a salmonella infection but young children, the elderly and those who have a weakened immune system face a higher risk for becoming severely sick.
How can I become infected?
One can acquire salmonella by eating contaminated food. The bacteria thrive in the gut of various farm animals and can affect eggs, meat, milk and even poultry. Other foods such as fruits, vegetables and shellfish can also become contaminated via contact with manure in the soil or sewage in water.
Contamination is likely to occur if uncooked and cooked foods are stored at the same time. It is impossible to distinguish if food is contaminated with salmonella since it will look, taste and smell normal.
The condition can also disperse from one individual to another due to poor hygiene, unable to wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet or after dealing with contaminated food.
Increasing the intake of fluids is essential since vomiting or diarrhea can result to dehydration and lose important minerals from the body. The doctor will recommend a rehydration solution that is available over-the-counter.
Oftentimes, severe cases require treatment using antibiotics. If given antibiotics, it is vital to finish the course as instructed.
An individual with salmonella infection should stay away from work or school for 48 hours after the symptoms have settled. Adults should inform their employer if working with susceptible groups such as the elderly, young children or those in poor health or if handling food.