Salmonellosis is a form of foodborne illness due to the Salmonella enterica bacterium. It is important to note that there are various strains of this bacteria and quite common in summer. Children are more likely to acquire the condition. Those who are susceptible to severe infections include young children, elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems.
What are the causes?
An individual can end up with salmonellosis after consuming contaminated food. This can occur in the following ways:
- Food might be contaminated during processing or handling
- Contaminated by unwashed hands of an infected food handler.
- Salmonella might also be present in the feces of some pets particularly those with diarrhea.
- Reptiles, ducklings, baby chicks and small rodents such as hamsters are prone to carry salmonella. Wash hands thoroughly right away after handling these animals even if they are healthy.
What are the indications of salmonellosis?
The indications of salmonellosis include the following:
- Abdominal cramping
These symptoms develop 12-72 hours after infection and lasts 4-7 days. Many can recover without treatment. In some cases, diarrhea and dehydration can be severe that hospitalization is required. Infants, elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at high risk.
If only diarrhea is present, one can recovery completely but might take several months before the bowel habits return to normal. Some who develop salmonellosis end up with reactive arthritis which last for months or years and progress to a chronic case.
The treatment for salmonellosis is managing any complications until they settle. The dehydration due to diarrhea is the usual complication.
Dehydration can be prevented by taking frequent sips of rehydration drink. It is recommended to take a cup of water or rehydration beverage for every large-sized, loose stool.
Stick with a normal diet if possible so that adequate nutrition is maintained. Remember that a normal diet can also help the individual recover faster. Just avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat as well as spicy foods, coffee and alcohol for 2 days after all the symptoms have settled.