One of the main causes of food poisoning is salmonella. An infection caused by the salmonella bacteria can cause symptoms such as stomach cramping, diarrhea and oftentimes fever and vomiting.
Generally, it takes from 12-72 hours for the symptoms to manifest after ingesting an infectious dose of the bacteria from contaminated food. The symptoms typically last for 4-7 days and many recover without any form of treatment. In case an individual becomes seriously sick, he/she might require admission at the hospital since dehydration due to food poisoning can be fatal.
Who are at risk for salmonella?
Any individual can end up with salmonella, but the elderly, young children and those who have weakened immune systems face a higher risk to become sick severely.
How do I become infected?
The condition is usually acquired by consuming contaminated food. Always bear in mind that the salmonella bacterium is present in the gut of several farm animals and present in eggs, meats, milk and poultry.
Fruits, vegetables and shellfish can also become contaminated via contact with manure in the soil or sewage in the water. It is also possible for contamination to occur if raw and cooked foods are stored closely together.
Animals such as tortoises as well as other reptiles kept as pets can also carry salmonella. Some cats, dogs and even rodents can intermittently become affected as well.
You cannot determine if a particular food is tainted with salmonella since it will smell, look and taste as usual. Salmonella can spread to others via poor hygiene such as unable to wash hands properly after using the toilet or directly handling contaminated food.
It is vital to carefully wash hands using warm water and soap before preparing and eating, after handling raw food, after working in the yard or garden, after using the toilet or changing diapers and after exposure to pets especially amphibians and reptiles.
In case an individual has salmonella, it is important to wash all dirty bedding, clothes and towels in a washing machine using the hottest cycle. Toilet bowls, toilet seats, flush handles, wash hand basins and taps must be thoroughly washed using hot water and detergent and then followed by a disinfectant.
An individual with salmonella should be encourage to drink plenty of fluids since episodes of vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration which leaves the body deprived of essential minerals and sugar.
The doctor might recommend an oral rehydration solution that is readily available in drugstores. In severe cases, the treatment involves antibiotics. In such cases, it is vital to complete the course as instructed by the doctor.
An individual with the infection should stay at home. As long as the individual is sick and has symptoms, he/she is still considered infectious. Both children and adults must avoid work or school for 48 hours after the symptoms have ceased.