Salmonella Symptoms

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Salmonella Symptoms

The salmonella bacteria capable of causing infections in humans are known as non-typhoidal salmonella. Chickens, reptiles and cows are the carriers of these bacteria. (See Reference 1) Humans too carry a rare type of salmonella, known as typhoidal salmonella. The main symptoms caused by this bacterium include pain in the abdomen, high fever, headache, lethargy, rash on the skin, malaise, delirium and constipation. This bacterium is more prevalent in developing countries, which lack proper sanitation and methods to dispose human waste. (See Reference 1)

When a person gets infected by salmonella bacteria, the following symptoms will manifest:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea, which can be bloody
  • Fever
  • Headache


Unfortunately, these symptoms can be present in other kinds of infection, and in order to get a confirmed diagnosis of salmonella, the doctor will request a stool sample to be tested for the bacterium. (See Reference 1) Generally, salmonella symptoms appear within three days of consuming the contaminated food or water, and do not require any medical treatment. The symptoms go away on their own. However, people in the high risk category are treated with the help of antibiotics. This prevents the infection from spreading to other parts of the body and causing unforeseen complications. (See Reference 1)

If person contracts typhoid fever, along with the aforementioned symptoms, the person will a characteristic rash on the skin and the spleen and liver will enlarge. This usually occurs in the second week of the infection. Typhoid fever can result in complications, such as pneumonia or meningitis. (See Reference 1)

While salmonella is an infection to fear, it is imperative to note that not all people who consume contaminated food or water end up having the infection. Children and infants are high risk category and the most prone to getting salmonella. (See Reference 1) Also, people with compromised immune systems, those undergoing chemotherapy, those suffering from sickle cell anemia, people without spleens, and those taking medication for GERD or acid reflux are considered to be at a high risk of contracting salmonella. (See Reference 1) In the US, every year, around 50,000 cases are reported. Out of these, one-third are children, aged 4 and below. (See Reference 1)

Salmonella is naturally present in the environment and can survive for long duration. Hence, eradicating the bacteria is next to impossible. However, measures can be taken to prevent the spread of the infection. The bacteria are highly susceptible to heat. Hence, cooking food thoroughly will ensure that the bacteria are killed before the food item is ingested. Also, avoiding raw or under cooked eggs, meats and poultry can prevent salmonella infection. (See Reference 1) Using a microwave to heat or cook food is not considered reliable enough to destroy the bacteria. (See Reference 1) When purchasing eggs from the grocery store, always opt for unbroken Grade A eggs. Also, avoid consuming poached or sunny-side-up eggs as the bacteria will still be alive if the egg is contaminated. Unpasteurized milk and juices, and food items made from raw eggs should be avoided. (See Reference 1)

One of the most common ways of transmission of salmonella is through the oral-fecal route. Hence, people handling or preparing food should wash their hands after using the toilet or before entering the kitchen. (See Reference 1)

If a person has a healthy immune system and still manages to contract salmonella, no treatment will be required. However, over-the-counter medication can be taken to help bring down the fever, and alleviate the abdominal cramps and headache. Ensure that the person consumes a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration, which can be life-threatening for young kids, seniors and people with compromised immune systems. (See Reference 1) Once the symptoms abate, the person can get back to normal life.

More Articles :

Salmonella Symptoms 1. Kids Health: Salmonella Infections