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What is it?
Salmonella (sal-muh-nell-uh) is a type of food poisoning. It is an infection (in-fek-shun) of the stomach and digestive (food) tract. The digestive tract is the part of the body through which food passes. The infection affects the intestines (in-tes-tins) by causing diarrhea (di-uh-ree-uh). Salmonella is more common in people over 70 years or under 20 years. It is seen most often in children less than 1 year. Salmonella may be spread from person to person.
This infection is caused by a germ called a bacteria (bak-teer-e-uh). The germ may be found in raw or not fully cooked meat, usually pork or chicken. Salmonella may also be found in eggs or food with eggs in it. Drinking water may also contain the salmonella germ. Salmonella may be spread by an infected person who works with food. This person may spread the infection to food by not washing his/her hands after using the toilet. Pet turtles, hamsters, and other animals may also carry the germ.
Signs and Symptoms:
You may have signs that show up 12 to 48 hours after eating or drinking infected food or liquids. Signs may include watery diarrhea or BMs. The diarrhea may have mucus or blood in it. You may have abdominal (belly) pain, fever, headache, chills, sweats, or tiredness. Other signs are nausea (upset stomach), vomiting (throwing up) or dehydration (loss of a lot of body water). You may also not want to eat.
Salmonella is found by testing your BMs. Mild cases last 1 to 4 days and can be treated at home. You may need to stop eating or drinking to rest your digestive tract. You will slowly be able to eat and drink when the diarrhea and vomiting has stopped. A heating pad (set on low) may help your abdominal cramps. Rest is important. Antibiotic (an-ti-bi-ah-tik) medicine is usually not needed to treat salmonella. You may need to be put in the hospital if you are dehydrated.
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.