Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.
What is salmonella infection?
A salmonella infection develops when salmonella bacteria reach your intestines.
What increases my risk for salmonella infection?
- A weakened immune system cannot easily fight the bacteria. Chemotherapy and other medicines, such as steroids, weaken your immune system. Your immune system may also be weak if you have sickle cell anemia, liver problems, cancer, or AIDS.
- Long-term use of antibiotics may upset the balance of good and bad bacteria in your intestine. This can increase your risk for infection.
What are the signs and symptoms of salmonella infection?
Any of the following may appear 12 to 72 hours after the bacteria get into your body:
- Diarrhea that may be bloody
- A fever
- Stomach cramps or a tender abdomen
- Nausea or vomiting
How is salmonella infection diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. Your blood or bowel movements may be tested for salmonella bacteria.
How is salmonella infection treated?
Salmonella infection usually lasts 4 to 7 days and gets better without treatment. Do not take medicine to stop your diarrhea. This can make your infection last longer. You may need any of the following to treat the infection or to ease your symptoms:
- Liquids help prevent dehydration. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. You may also need to drink an oral rehydration solution (ORS). An ORS contains a balance of water, salt, and sugar to replace body fluids.
- IV fluids may be given if you become severely dehydrated.
- Antibiotics may be given if your immune system is too weak to fight the infection.
How can salmonella infection be prevented?
The bacteria spread through direct contact. You can become infected when you eat or drink food that is contaminated. Foods become contaminated through improper handling, cooking, or storage. Salmonella also spread when an infected person does not wash his or her hands after he or she has a bowel movement or changes a diaper. Do the following to help prevent the spread of salmonella:
- Cook food all the way through. Cook eggs until the yolks are firm. Use a meat thermometer to make sure meat is heated to a temperature that will kill bacteria. Do not eat raw or undercooked poultry, seafood, or meat.
- Clean thoroughly. Wash your hands in warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after you handle food. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom or change a diaper. Rinse fruits and vegetables in running water. Clean cutting boards, knives, countertops, and other areas where you prepare food before and after you cook. Wash sponges and dishtowels weekly in hot water.
- Store food properly. Refrigerate or freeze fruits and vegetables, cooked foods, and leftovers. Keep your refrigerator at 40°F (4°C) or lower and your freezer at 0°F (-18°C).
- Separate raw and cooked foods. Keep raw meat and its juices away from other foods to prevent the spread of bacteria. Always put cooked food on a clean platter. Never use a platter that held raw poultry, seafood, or meat without washing it first.
When should I seek immediate care?
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- Your abdomen is tender and hard, or feels swollen.
- You have black or bright red bowel movements.
- You see blood in your vomit.
- You are urinating less or not at all.
- Your heart is beating faster than usual.
- You are breathing faster than usual.
When should I call my doctor?
- You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- Your diarrhea or vomiting gets worse.
- You are dizzy or lightheaded.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.
© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.
Learn more about Salmonella Infection
- Medications for CNS Infection
- Medications for Infection
- Medications for Infectious Gastroenteritis
- Medications for Pleuropulmonary Infection
- Medications for Septicemia
Symptoms and treatments
Medicine.com guides (external)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.