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Health Information For Parents
Salmonella is a kind of bacteria, with many different types. The type responsible for most infections in humans is carried by chickens, cows, pigs, and reptiles (such as turtles, lizards, and iguanas). Another, rarer form — called Salmonella typhi — causes typhoid fever.
Salmonella infection, or salmonellosis, is a foodborne illness caused by infection with Salmonella bacteria. Most infections spread to people through contaminated food (usually meat, poultry, eggs, or milk).
A Salmonella infection typically causes:
Because many different kinds of illnesses can cause these symptoms, most doctors will take a stool sample to make an accurate diagnosis.
Salmonella infections usually clear up without medical treatment.
Salmonella bacteria are often found in the feces (poop) of some animals, particularly reptiles. People who have these animals as pets can get salmonellosis if they handle the reptiles and get the bacteria on their hands.
Salmonella can spread to people in foods contaminated by infected animal feces. This can happen when foods such as poultry, eggs, and beef are not cooked enough. Fruit and vegetables can also be contaminated from feces in the soil or water where they’re grown.
Yes. People with salmonellosis can spread the infection from several days to several weeks after they’ve been infected — even if their symptoms have disappeared or they’ve been treated with antibiotics.
Not everyone who ingests Salmonella bacteria will become ill. Children, especially infants, are most likely to get sick from it. About 50,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States each year and about one third of those are in kids 4 years old or younger.
People at risk for more serious complications from a Salmonella infection include those who:
In these higher-risk groups, most doctors will treat an infection with antibiotics to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. Antibiotics do not appear to help a healthy person whose infection is not severe — and may actually lengthen the amount of time the person will carry the bacteria.
Because many different illnesses can cause similar symptoms (such as nausea, fever, cramping, and diarrhea), doctors may send a stool (poop) sample to the lab for testing.
A severe Salmonella infection will require more testing to see which specific germ is causing the illness and which antibiotics can be used to treat it.
If your child has salmonellosis and a healthy immune system, your doctor may let the infection pass without giving any medicines. But any time a child develops a fever, headache, or bloody diarrhea, call the doctor to rule out any other problems.
If your child is infected and has a fever, you may want to give acetaminophen to lower the temperature and relieve cramping. As with any infection that causes diarrhea, it’s important to give your child plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration.
Salmonellosis symptoms can take from 6 to 72 hours to start after someone ingests the bacteria. In most people, the illness lasts for 4 to 7 days after symptoms begin.
Hand washing is a powerful way to guard against Salmonella infections. So teach kids to wash their hands well and often, particularly after trips to the bathroom and before handling food.
Here are some other ways to protect your family from Salmonella infections:
While typhoid fever isn’t common in the U.S., it can be a health threat elsewhere. Learn about this illness and how to prevent it.
Undercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection marked by severe diarrhea. Here’s how to protect your family.
Cooking and baking are lots of fun – as long as you stay safe. Read this article for safety tips before you head into the kitchen.
A stool culture helps doctors determine if there’s a bacterial infection in the intestines.
Why is food safety important? And how can you be sure your kitchen and the foods you prepare in it are safe?
These bacterial infections can cause diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. Good hand-washing and food safety habits can help prevent them.
Yersiniosis is an uncommon infection caused by the consumption of undercooked meat products, unpasteurized milk, or water contaminated by the bacteria.
Kids need daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Here’s how to make sure the produce you buy and prepare is safe.
Undercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection and severe diarrhea. Here’s how to protect yourself.
Germs are tiny organisms that can cause disease – and they’re so small that they can creep into your system without you noticing. Find out how to protect yourself.
The germs that get into food and cause food poisoning are tiny, but can have a powerful effect on the body. Find out what to do if you get food poisoning – and how to prevent it.
Sometimes, germs can get into food and cause food poisoning. Find out what to do if your child gets food poisoning – and how to prevent it.
Did you ever eat something that made you feel ooky? It might have been food poisoning.
Germs are the microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can cause disease.
Washing your hands well and often is the best way to keep from getting sick. Here’s how to teach this all-important habit to your kids.
Most kids battle diarrhea from time to time, so it’s importantÂ to know what to do to relieve and even prevent it.
Nearly everybody gets diarrhea every once in a while, and it’s usually caused by gastrointestinal infections. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Read this article to learn more.
Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating contaminated food. It mostly affects pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. Here’s how to protect your family.
People often think of salmonellosis as food poisoning, but food is only one way the bacteria Salmonella can be spread.
Salmonellosis is an illness caused by a bacteria found in raw food, soil, water and the bowel movements of some animals, including reptiles. Find out how to prevent this illness.
Fevers happen when the body’s internal “thermostat” raises the body temperature above normal. This is often the body’s way of fighting infections.
Learn why food safety is important and how you can avoid the spread of bacteria when you are buying, preparing, and storing food.
Lots of different problems can cause similar kinds of stomach pain – not all of them related to the digestive system. Here are some clues about what could be going on.
Diarrhea is common and usually not a sign of something serious. Find out what to do if your child has diarrhea.
Antibiotics are powerful medicines that can help kids feel better — but only when they have certain illnesses. Find out if an antibiotic is right for your child.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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