Salmonella infection is one of the most known food-related illnesses. It’s a bacteria that can cause severe illness in humans through contaminated food and water. To better understand this issue, here’s what you need to know about Salmonella infection.
What Is Salmonella?
Salmonella is bacteria that can cause infections ranging from mild gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps to more severe illness, such as typhoid fever or even death. Salmonella bacteria can be found in various foods such as raw meats, seafood, eggs, and even fresh produce.
How Does Salmonella Spread?
Salmonella bacteria usually spread through the consumption of contaminated food or water. Please note that contamination can happen at any stage of food production, from growth, processing, packaging, and handling. However, it’s also possible to contract Salmonella from direct contact with infected animals, such as reptiles and chickens.
Symptoms of Salmonella Infection
Typically, salmonella symptoms appear six hours to six days after infection. However, some people can develop symptoms weeks after exposure. Common symptoms are diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, individuals may experience blood in their stool or require hospitalization.
Members of vulnerable groups are more susceptible to Salmonella infection. In particular, elderly people, infants, and individuals with compromised immune systems may get severe infections.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Most cases of Salmonella infection will resolve on their own within a few days to a week. There is no specific medication to treat this problem. However, people can manage symptoms with anti-diarrheal, antibiotics, or other supportive medications. If people experience severe symptoms, such as vomiting that persist longer than two days, it’s best to speak to your healthcare provider.
Although most cases of Salmonella infection resolve without complications, some people may develop serious problems. The long-term health effects of Salmonella infection can include reactive arthritis. This can result in inflammation in the joints, genitourinary tract, and eyes. Other long-term issues are irritable bowel syndrome or chronic fatigue syndrome. These conditions can affect the quality of life and require medical management.
Preventing Salmonella Infection
One of the most important things you need to know about Salmonella infection is how to prevent it. The best strategy to prevent Salmonella infection is to practice food hygiene. This means thoroughly cleaning your hands, utensils, and surfaces before and after handling food.
You should also cook meat thoroughly, so that the internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) or more. In addition, avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards for raw and cooked food. Always ensure that you store food at the appropriate temperature, either in the refrigerator or freezer.