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Salmonellosis: symptoms, causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Salmonellosis is a food poisoning caused by a bacterial infection known as Salmonella. It is one of the most common food poisonings and affects millions of people each year, especially in summer. It causes extensive damage to the digestive system and the bloodstream, causing the infected person to have symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. It is essential to know the measures to avoid salmonellosis and see a doctor when the first symptoms are detected. At FastlyHeal, we explain salmonellosis’s symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Symptoms of salmonellosis

Salmonella usually shows its first signs after its incubation period, between 8 and 72 hours after being infected. Among the damages it implies to the digestive system is gastroenteritis, which does not usually lead to complications but can be more dangerous in children and the elderly. The illness can last between 2 and 7 days, and the symptoms are typically mild. In some cases, life can be endangered by the greater severity of the severe dehydration illness that causes diarrhea or Reiter’s syndrome. The latter, also known as reactive arthritis, can cause arthritis, urinary problems, and red eyes. The most common symptoms of Salmonella are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mild or severe diarrhea.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle pains.
  • Blood in the stool.
  • Fever and chills

Causes of salmonellosis

The leading cause of contracting salmonellosis is contact with food infected with the bacteria.

  • Eggs . Consuming raw eggs without being fried or cooked can also cause contamination. The infected hen produces the eggs directly with the Salmonella bacteria. Also, products made from eggs, such as mayonnaise and other sauces, can cause infection.
  • Raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Hearts can be contaminated during processing by contact with feces. In the case of shellfish, these have likely been in contact with waters contaminated with the bacteria.
  • Fruits and vegetables . These foods can be washed with water contaminated with salmonellosis bacteria. If these foods are not cooked for consumption, which can be very common in the case of salads, the bacteria can be transmitted to humans.

In addition to contaminated food, there is also the risk that one contaminated person will infect another through contact, even when handling food or touching an object subsequently used by another person.

The Salmonella bacteria can also be present in domestic animals since it can be found in the food they are fed, such as feed, facilitating the transmission from live animals to humans.

Salmonellosis treatment

In cases where the infection is considered mild, keeping the person hydrated through food supplements such as potassium, chloride, and sodium; in more severe instances in which more powerful symptoms, hospitalization may be necessary. The medications usually administered to treat salmonellosis are antidiarrheals to relieve colic and antibiotics if Salmonella is found in the bloodstream or if the case is considered severe. In addition, special care must be taken with the diet that is followed during the recovery process:

  • Liquid . It is one of the most critical steps. Diarrhea and vomiting can lead to dehydration, so drinking water frequently will prevent it. You can consume liquids such as tea and fat-free broths, and water. On the contrary, caffeine should be avoided because it contributes to dehydration.
  • Soft foods. When you notice an improvement in symptoms, especially diarrhea, you can start to incorporate a soft diet consisting of boiled or baked rice, potatoes, carrots, fish, and chicken. This will help the body regain nutrients and feel better.

Risk factors and prevention

Some of the risk factors for salmonellosis are the following:

  • We are traveling to places where sanitation is precarious, and infection tends to be more common, such as developing countries. Likewise, these countries may have poor hygienic conditions that facilitate contagion.
  • She lives with or has frequent contact with animals, especially birds and reptiles.
  • People who have a weak immune system, for example, those who suffer from AIDS or malaria, among others.
  • Consume raw meat, poultry, and eggs regularly.

On the other hand, we can take into account preventive measures to avoid the spread of salmonellosis. On many occasions, the so-called cross-contamination occurs. This takes place when they handle contaminated food; later, they come into contact with other foods without proper hygiene, that is, without washing their hands. Therefore, washing your hands before coming into contact with any food is essential as a preventive measure when cooking food. Some of the averages that we can have in mind are:

  • Do not wash the eggs on the outside. This causes the shell’s pores to open, causing the bacteria to enter the interior. When we cook an egg, and the eggshell comes into contact with it, for example, when the egg is broken, we must remove the shell and cook it well by pouring boiling oil on top. In addition, we must cook the yolk by pouring oil on top in the case of the fried egg.
  • In the case of making homemade mayonnaise, it should not be left out of the refrigerator for a long time or stored for more than 24 hours. Therefore, it is better to consume packaged mayonnaise made with pasteurized eggs.
  • Wash your hands when cooking and clean utensils and space that has been used, such as tables or countertops.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Salmonellosis: symptoms, causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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