A salmonella infection is a bacterial disease affecting the intestinal tract. These bacteria live in the human intestines and goes out with the feces. People are infected by drinking and eating contaminated water and foods.
People with salmonella infection will cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 8-72 hours but some people can recover for a few days without treatment.
Diarrhea due to salmonella infection can cause dehydration and needs immediate medical attention. A dangerous condition can also develop if the infection spreads beyond the intestines. If you want to learn how to manage dehydration, click here.
A salmonella infection can be caused by eating raw or uncooked meats, egg and some products of eggs and poultry. The incubation period is from seven hours to two days, and the infections are classified as gastroenteritis. There are several symptoms of these infections like diarrhea and abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea, and also fever, chills and headache, and presence of blood in the stool.
Salmonella infections last four to seven days, but it will take several months for the bowels to return to normal. Some salmonella bacteria can cause typhoid fever which is a deadly disease.
The salmonella bacteria lives in the intestines of human, animals and birds, thus people can be infected by these bacteria by eating foods and drinking water which are contaminated by feces. Some of these foods include raw meat, poultry and seafood such as shellfish. The contaminated feces contaminate the raw meat and poultry during the butchering process. People will acquire the infection from eating seafood if it was harvested from contaminated water.
Another cause is eating raw eggs that are contaminated by salmonella bacteria. Fruits and vegetables that were washed with contaminated water can cause infection. The infection can also happen in the kitchen when juice from raw meat and poultry comes in contact with uncooked foods like salads.
Foods can become contaminated when prepared by people who do not wash their hands after using the toilet and changing the diaper of an infant or elderly.
Infections can also occur by putting the hands into the mouth after touching pets, birds and some reptiles that are contaminated by the bacteria
Treatment and home remedies
Salmonella infection causes dehydration and the treatment is by replacing fluids and electrolytes.
Taking medications like Loperamide can help minimize cramping but they prolong the diarrhea caused by the salmonella infections.
Drinking plenty of liquids or sucking on ice chips as well as using oral rehydration solutions for children like Pedialyte.
- Washing of hands after changing a diaper, cleaning of pet feces, using a toilet, handling raw meat and poultry, touching contaminated birds and reptiles.
- Avoiding eating contaminated raw eggs.
- Store separately raw meats, poultry and seafood from other foods in the refrigerator.
- Use two cutting boards in the kitchen, one for raw meats, poultry and some seafood and the other for fruits and vegetables.