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Salmonella Infection


  • Salmonella (sal-mo-NEL-ah) infection, also called salmonellosis, is an infection that affects the lining of the small intestine (bowel). Salmonellosis is a common gastrointestinal (digestive) infection caused by a bacteria (germ) called Salmonella. Salmonella bacteria enter the small intestine and inflame (swell) its lining causing diarrhea (loose bowel movements). The small intestine is a part of the digestive system where food is broken down. It is the tube that runs from the stomach to the colon (large intestine). Salmonella infection usually lasts for 4 to 7 days and gets better even without treatment.
    Picture of a normal digestive system
  • Signs and symptoms may include fever, vomiting (throwing up), nausea, or crampy abdominal (stomach) pain. You may also get dehydrated (lose too much fluid) due to vomiting and diarrhea. Blood or stool (bowel movement) tests may be done to check if you have a salmonella infection. Treatment, such as using rehydrating solutions, aims to replace the fluid that was lost to prevent dehydration. Your caregiver may also suggest that you take antibiotic medicine to kill the germs. A salmonella infection may be prevented by drinking only clean water, cooking food thoroughly, and frequent hand washing. With treatment, such as medicines and fluids, you may fully recover and resume normal activities.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Eat healthy foods:

Choose healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables. Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose protein sources, such as lean beef and chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Ask how many servings of fats, oils, and sweets you should have each day, and if you need to be on a special diet.

Drinking liquids:

Men 19 years old and older should drink about three Liters of liquid each day (about 13 eight-ounce cups). Women 19 years old and older should drink about two Liters of liquid each day (about 9 eight-ounce cups). If you are used to drinking liquids that contain caffeine, such as coffee, these can also be counted in your daily liquid amount. Drink even more liquids if you will be outdoors in the sun for a long time. You should also drink more liquids if you are exercising. Try to drink enough liquid each day, and not just when you feel thirsty. The best liquids to drink have water, sugar, and salt in them. These liquids help your body hold in fluid and help prevent dehydration. Ask your caregiver what liquids are best to drink if you are on a low salt or low sugar diet.

  • Drink oral rehydrating solutions (ORS). An ORS has the right amounts of water, salts, and sugar needed to replace lost body fluids. Ask your caregiver about how to make an ORS at home. You may also buy ORS in pharmacies.

Preventing the spread of salmonella infection:

The following are ways to prevent the spread of a salmonella infection:

  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water. Always wash after using the toilet, after handling animals, and before preparing or serving food. Germ-killing hand lotion or gel may be used to clean your hands when there is no water available.
  • Avoid sharing eating or drinking utensils.
  • Cook food, especially chicken, meat, and eggs, thoroughly. All surfaces and utensils that have come into contact with raw chicken must be carefully cleaned. This may prevent salmonella from contaminating other foods.
  • Discard used diapers properly.
  • Do not eat raw food or food that has not been washed thoroughly. Wash fruits and vegetables with clean water and peel them before eating.

For more information:

Contact the following for more information about salmonella infection:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    1600 Clifton Road
    Atlanta , GA 30333
    Phone: 1- 800 - 232-4636
    Web Address:
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    NIAID Office of Communications & Government Relations
    5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9806
    Bethesda, MD 20892-9806
    For deliveries, use Rockville, MD 20852
    Phone: 1- 301 - 496-5717
    Phone: 1- 866 - 284-4107
    Web Address:


  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have worsening diarrhea.
  • You have a problem eating or drinking.
  • Your symptoms do not improve or are getting worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your infection, treatment, or care.


  • You have abdominal (stomach) pain that gets worse or does not go away.
  • Your abdomen is tender and hard, or feels swollen.
  • You have black-colored or bright red stools.
  • Your stool or vomit (throw-up) has blood in it.
  • You have any of the following signs of dehydration:
    • Dizziness or weakness.
    • Dry mouth, cracked lips, or feeling very thirsty.
    • Fast heartbeat or breathing.
    • You are more irritable than normal.
    • You are passing little to no urine.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.