What is Salmonella Food Poisoning?
Salmonella Food Poisoning is a pretty disabling and annoying pathological condition that normally occurs due to eating contaminated food. The food that the affected individual eats is usually contaminated by animal or human feces which tend to carry the bacteria called as Salmonella. Salmonella Food Poisoning are normally found when people eat foods made of poultry items like eggs or meat, although this bacteria may also contaminate the normal fruits and vegetables that we take on a daily basis. Some of the common food items that can be infected by the bacteria Salmonella and cause Salmonella Food Poisoning are undercooked eggs, raw milk, contaminated water, and raw meat. The bacteria is divided into 2 type, one is the non-typhoidal type which is quite common and the other one is the typhoidal type of bacteria which may cause Typhoid which is potentially dangerous and may require extensive antibiotic treatment. The specific bacterial form causing this condition is called the Salmonella Typhi bacteria.
What Causes Salmonella Food Poisoning?
As stated, the root cause of Salmonella Food Poisoning is eating contaminated foods. The bacteria in question, Salmonella, resides in the intestines of the humans. The bacteria may infect poultry items or raw meat during the butchering process. Seafood may be contaminated if that particular organism is taken out from contaminated water. An egg may get infected if it is hatched from an infected chicken. If fruits and vegetables are washed with contaminated water then even those may become infected with the Salmonella bacteria and may have the potential to cause Salmonella Food Poisoning.
What are the Symptoms of Salmonella Food Poisoning?
The most common symptoms of Salmonella Food Poisoning is:
- Abdominal cramping
- Fever ranging from 102 to 104 degrees.
The patient suffering from Salmonella Food Poisoning may also experience blood in the stools, may have severe vomiting episodes, severe headaches, and an overall feeling of malaise.
If an individual has been infected by the typhoid variant of the bacteria then the patient may experience fever about a week after eating contaminated food and the symptoms may persist for over a month. During this time, the patient may experience high fever, severe weakness, malaise, abdominal pain, nosebleeds or even enlargement of vital organs of the body. This variant of the Salmonella is quite serious and needs immediate medical attention.
How is Salmonella Food Poisoning Diagnosed?
The best and most trusted way of diagnosing Salmonella Food Poisoning is by testing a stool sample, although this disease normally is quite benign and resolves on its own in a week’s time. Apart from this, blood tests may also detect the offending bacteria in the bloodstream and confirm the diagnosis of Salmonella Food Poisoning.
How is Salmonella Food Poisoning Treated?
Under normal circumstances, Salmonella Food Poisoning lasts for about a week and then resolves on its own and there is no need for any treatment, although some people may get dehydrated due to persistent diarrhea and vomiting and may need intravenous hydration. In case if an individual is infected by the more serious type of the bacteria with a suspicion of a typhoid fever then the patient may need an extensive course of antibiotics to get the infection under control. It is quite unfortunate but true that some types of Salmonella bacteria have become quite resistent to antibiotics and hence are difficult to treat but then run their course and go away on their own
How can Salmonella Food Poisoning be Prevented?
Some of the ways to prevent Salmonella Food Poisoning are:
- Washing hands before preparing food and after processing raw meat.
- One should make sure that the meat or eggs that they are cooking are totally cooked and not left raw.
- Make sure not to eat undercooked poultry items be it eggs or meat.
- Make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom.
What is the Recovery Period for Salmonella Food Poisoning?
Majority of the people who have Salmonella Food Poisoning recover from this condition within a week of the infection. In case of the typhoid variant of the bacteria then antibiotics may be needed for at least two weeks before the patient may recover from Salmonella Food Poisoning.
- enters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Salmonella: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/index.html
- Mayo Clinic – Salmonella infection (salmonellosis): https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/salmonella/symptoms-causes/syc-20355329
- World Health Organization (WHO) – Salmonella (non-typhoidal): https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/salmonella-(non-typhoidal)