Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning caused by the Salmonella enterica bacterium. There are many different kinds of these bacteria. Salmonella serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella serotype Enteritidis are the most common types in the United States.
Salmonellosis is more common in the summer than in the winter. Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. Young children, older adults, and people who have impaired immune systems are the most likely to have severe infections.
You can get salmonellosis by eating food contaminated with salmonella. This can happen in the following ways:
Beef, poultry, milk, and eggs are most often infected with salmonella. But vegetables may also be contaminated. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal.
Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. They develop 6 hours to 6 days after infection, and the illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. But diarrhea and dehydration may be so severe that it is necessary to go to the hospital. Older adults, infants, and those who have impaired immune systems are at highest risk.
If you only have diarrhea, you usually recover completely, although it may be several months before your bowel habits are entirely normal. A small number of people who are infected with salmonellosis develop reactive arthritis, a disease that can last for months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis.
Salmonellosis is diagnosed based on a medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms, foods you have recently eaten, and your work and home environments. A stool culture and blood tests may be done to confirm the diagnosis.
You treat salmonellosis by managing any complications until it passes. Dehydration caused by diarrhea is the most common complication. Antibiotics are not usually needed unless the infection has spread.
To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids. Choose water and other clear liquids until you feel better. You can take frequent sips of a rehydration drink (such as Pedialyte). Soda, fruit juices, and sports drinks have too much sugar and not enough of the important electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea. These kinds of drinks should not be used to rehydrate.
When you feel like eating again, start with small amounts of food. This will help you to get enough nutrition.
To prevent salmonellosis:
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