Salmonella infection is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella bacteria typically live in the intestines of animals and humans and are shed through feces.
Salmonella infection is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella bacteria typically live in the intestines of animals and humans and are shed through feces. Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food sources — such as poultry, meat and eggs.
Typically, people with salmonella infection develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours. Signs and symptoms of salmonella infection generally last four to seven days. Most healthy people recover without specific treatment.
In some cases, the diarrhea associated with salmonella infection can be extremely dehydrating and require prompt medical attention. Life-threatening complications may also develop should the infection spread beyond your intestines. Your risk of salmonella infection is higher if you travel to countries with poor sanitation.
There are more than 2,000 varieties of salmonella bacteria, but only about a dozen of them cause illnesses in people. Most of these illnesses can be classified as gastroenteritis, often featuring severe diarrhea. But a few varieties of salmonella bacteria result in typhoid fever, a sometimes deadly disease that is more common in developing countries.
Salmonella-induced gastroenteritis is most often caused by eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products. The incubation period ranges from several hours to two days. Signs and symptoms may include:
Most people who develop typhoid fever in the United States have recently traveled in a country where the disease is more common. The incubation period ranges from five to 21 days following infection. Signs and symptoms may include:
Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of people, animals and birds. Most people are infected with salmonella by eating foods that have been contaminated by feces. Commonly infected foods include:
Many foods become contaminated when prepared by people who don't wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing a diaper. Infection also can occur if you touch something that is contaminated and then put your fingers in your mouth. This includes pets — especially birds and reptiles.
Factors that may increase your risk of salmonella infection include activities that may bring you into closer contact with salmonella bacteria and health problems that may weaken your resistance to infection in general.
Your body has many natural defenses against salmonella infection. For example, strong stomach acid can kill many types of salmonella bacteria. But some medical problems or medications can short-circuit these natural defenses. Examples include:
The following medical problems or medications appear to increase your risk of contracting salmonella by impairing your immune system.
Salmonella infection itself isn't life-threatening. However, in certain people — especially children, older adults, transplant recipients and people with a weakened immune system — the development of complications can be dangerous.
If you can't drink enough liquids to replace the fluid you're losing from persistent diarrhea, you may become dehydrated. Warning signs include:
If salmonella infection enters your bloodstream (bacteremia), it can infect tissues throughout your body, including:
People who have had salmonella are at higher risk of developing reactive arthritis. Also known as Reiter's syndrome, reactive arthritis typically causes:
Salmonella infection can be detected by testing a sample of your stool. However, this test may not be very useful because most people have recovered from their symptoms by the time the test results return.
If your doctor suspects that you may have a salmonella infection in your bloodstream, he or she may suggest testing a sample of your blood for the bacteria.
If you would like to know the latest treatment and management strategies, using conventional and scientifically backed complementary medicine and therapies, plus an assortment of helpful tips, hints and lifestyle remedies which will improve your overall quality of life, then call into our pharmacy and we'll be delighted to help.