Salmonella infection (also called salmonellosis) is an intestinal illness caused by Salmonella bacteria. Some animals (such as reptiles and birds) often carry Salmonella. You can be infected from eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Contamination occurs when food or water comes in contact with stool from infected people or animals. Beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and unpasteurized milk are more likely to have Salmonella than other foods. Salmonella is most often passed through food that hasn't been cooked well enough or that contacts raw meat or eggs.
Common Symptoms of Salmonella Infection
Symptoms often appear 12-72 hours after you are infected. Symptoms include:
- Stomach cramps
Diagnosing Salmonella Infection
A sample of your stool is checked for the presence of Salmonella. More than one stool sample may be needed.
Treating Salmonella Infection
Salmonella infection generally gets better without treatment in 5-7 days. Antibiotics (medications that kill bacteria) may be prescribed if needed. Do not take antidiarrheal medication unless told to by a doctor. It can make the illness last longer and decrease the body's ability to get rid of the Salmonella bacteria. While you are recovering, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
Call Your Healthcare Provider If You Have:
- No improvement in symptoms after 2 days
- Blood in stool
- Severe vomiting
- Severe abdominal pain
- Signs of dehydration (dry, sticky mouth; decreased urine output; very dark urine)
Preventing Salmonella Infection
Follow these steps to lessen the chances of getting or passing on Salmonella infection:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water often. Do this before preparing meals, and after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets. Teach your child to do the same.
- Use a food thermometer when cooking. Cook poultry to at least 165°F. Cook pork and ground meats to at least 160°F. Cook beef or lamb to at least 145°F. Cook eggs until the yolks are firm and are not still runny.
- Wash or peel produce before eating.
- Wash cutting boards and utensils with hot water and soap after each use. Clean kitchen counters with bleach or disinfectant.