Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning that is caused by the salmonella enterica bacterium and there are different kinds of these bacteria. Salmonellosis is usually common during the summer months and children are most susceptible to this condition. Old people and individuals with impaired immune systems can suffer from severe infection.
Salmonella poisoning is caused by contact with water or food that is contaminated by the salmonella bacteria. It causes symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever which happen within 2-48 hours and last for 7 days.
Causes of salmonellosis
- Food become contaminated when handled by unwashed hands usually by those who were not able to wash hands after using the bathroom
- Food is contaminated during the processing of food or handling of food.
- Salmonella can be found in the feces of animals. A person can become infected by not washing his/her hand after contact with the feces.
- Reptiles and small rodents are considered as carriers of salmonella. Always wash hands properly after handling these animals even if they are healthy.
- Beef, milk, poultry and eggs can also be affected by salmonella. Vegetables can also be contaminated. Remember that foods that are contaminated usually smell normal.
- Fever and chills
- Presence of blood in the stool
Some people infected by salmonellosis develop reactive arthritis that can last for months or years and can result to chronic arthritis.
- Avoid being dehydrated to prevent complications. Take frequent sips of rehydration drinks. For every large and loose stool, drink at least a cup of water.
- Maintain a regular diet as much as possible to get enough nutrition. Avoid foods high in fats and sugar, spicy foods, alcohol and coffee at least 2 days until the symptoms are eliminated.
- Loss of fluids caused by vomiting and diarrhea increases the risk for dehydration. Replace the lost electrolytes by drinking water and other fluids.
- Take the prescribed anti-diarrheal medications to lessen cramping from diarrhea caused by salmonella.
- Eat bland foods while still having salmonella infection. Avoid eating salty or spicy foods to prevent making the condition worse. Avoid fatty foods which can irritate the digestive tract.
- Apply a heating pad or warm compress on the abdomen to lessen the cramping. A hot water bottle or taking a hot bath is also good for the condition.
- Get enough rest for fast healing of the condition.
- Avoid eating raw and undercooked eggs.
- Wash or peel any fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Wash thoroughly cutting boards, counters, knives and utensils after exposed to uncooked foods.
- If possible, steer clear from raw or unpasteurized milk and other dairy products.
- Cook foods until they are well done.