Salmonellosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention
What is Salmonellosis?
Salmonellosis, which is also known by the name of Salmonella Poisoning, is a pathological condition of the gastrointestinal system caused by the bacteria Salmonella. This condition is basically a type of food poisoning with symptoms similar to that.
Salmonellosis is a condition which is seen more in the summer months than in the winter months and children are the ones who are mostly infected by it, although the elderly with compromised immune system and even adults may at times get infected by Salmonellosis. Eating contaminated food is the root cause for Salmonellosis.
The food can get contaminated during packaging or delivering or if the food is packed with dirty hands. Another common cause for Salmonellosis is through pets, the feces of which may be infected and then that gets passed to an individual who does not wash his or her hands after coming in contact with the feces of the pet.
Diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration as a result of that are the most prominent symptoms of Salmonellosis. These symptoms may get so severe at times that the individual may have to be admitted to the hospital for treatment of Salmonellosis.
What are the Causes of Salmonellosis?
As stated, eating contaminated food is the primary cause for getting infected with Salmonellosis. The food may get contaminated during packaging if the packager uses dirty hands to pack the food. Feces of pets are also one of the common causes for Salmonellosis.
Pets who are suffering from diarrhea are the major contributors for Salmonellosis, especially if the individual does not wash his or her hands after somehow coming in contact with the feces of the pet.
Salmonellosis can also be caused due to rodents and if an individual is in contact with them then it is essential for him or her to wash the hands thoroughly with soap and water to avoid getting infected with Salmonellosis. Additionally, beef, eggs, milk are also certain items than can be infected with Salmonella and can cause Salmonellosis.
What are the Symptoms of Salmonellosis?
The main presenting features of Salmonellosis are abdominal cramps, severe bouts of diarrhea, and fever. These symptoms tend to develop within a couple of days after exposure to the offending bacteria. These symptoms tend to last for about a week before they start to abate.
In majority of the cases, an individual with Salmonellosis tends to recover completely without any intervention but there are some cases where the symptoms are significantly severe requiring medical intervention. This is especially in infants, the elderly population, people who have a compromised immune system who tend to get severe symptoms of Salmonellosis.
In cases where only diarrhea is present in an individual then complete recovery takes place within three to four days, although it may take about a month for the bowel movements to completely return back to normal even after all the other symptoms have abated of Salmonellosis.
How is Salmonellosis Diagnosed?
In order to diagnose Salmonellosis, the treating physician will take a complete history of the patient inquiring as to the food that they might have taken recently or if they have traveled out of the country where they might have been exposed to the bacteria.
The physician may also ask about any pets that the patient may be having and other questions related to work and home environment. Once Salmonellosis is suspected, a blood test will be ordered which will clearly show presence of Salmonella bacterium and definitively give a diagnosis of Salmonellosis.
How is Salmonellosis Treated?
Treatment for Salmonellosis is usually not required as the symptoms tend to fade away within a week's time. In cases where the symptoms are severe especially dehydration then the patient may need to be admitted in a hospital setting for intravenous fluids to rehydrate the patient.
Antibiotics are usually not required for Salmonellosis unless there is a rapid spread of the condition to the blood or other parts of the body. Once a patient has a confirmed diagnosis of Salmonellosis it is essential for him or her to drink a few sips of water regularly in order to prevent dehydration from occuring as a result of the symptoms of Salmonellosis.
As soon as the patient has a bowel movement he or she should take a glass of water so that the body stays hydrated. Diet wise, the patient can stick to a regular diet as much as possible but try and avoid fatty and fried foods. It is also essential to avoid spicy food along with alcohol and any caffeinated product till complete relief from symptoms of Salmonellosis.
How Can Salmonellosis Be Prevented?
Salmonellosis is a condition that can be easily prevented. In order to avoid getting infected from Salmonellosis, the following precautions may be taken:
- Never eat raw or undercooked poultry products like eggs or meat as they may still have live bacteria which can infect the individual.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk and other dairy products as they can also be infected with Salmonella and can cause Salmonellosis
- Wash any vegetable and peel its covering completely before cooking and eating it.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after eating and especially after playing with a pet or after cleaning feces of a pet
- Try and stay way from kitchen or other utensils till the symptoms have completely abated of Salmonellosis.
- Stay away from infants and toddlers till the time the symptoms have completely cleared of Salmonellosis.