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Health Information For Teens
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).
Salmonella infection, or
, 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:
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.
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 you have salmonellosis and a healthy immune system, your doctor may let the infection pass without giving any medicines.
If you have a fever, you may want to take acetaminophen to lower the temperature and relieve cramping. As with any infection that causes diarrhea, it’s important to drink 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 wash your hands well and often, particularly after trips to the bathroom and before handling food.
Here are some other ways to protect yourself from Salmonella infections:
Did you know that the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands? If you don’t wash your hands frequently, you can pick up germs from other sources and then infect yourself.
Learn why food safety is important and how you can avoid the spread of bacteria when you are buying, preparing, and storing food.
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.
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.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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