Salmonella Infection Symptoms – Diarrhea, Abdominal Pain And Cramps

Symptoms of a salmonella infection often include diarrhea and abdominal pain and cramps. A salmonella infection is a form of food poisoning and these symptoms and others tend to develop within 12 to 72 hours after a person eats or drinks something contaminated with the salmonella bacteria. The illness can last 4 to 7 days. The term Salmonellosis is used to describe an infection caused by the Salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella Infection Symptoms And Causes

Salmonellosis produces the symptoms that are commonly referred to as food poisoning, which may include:

  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain

Symptoms can range in intensity from simple digestive system upset to severe or life threatening dehydration if vomiting and diarrhea persist.

Infections occur after eating foods or drinking a beverage that contain bacteria of the genus Salmonella. The bacteria is found in foods from animal sources but any food can be contaminated if food preparation conditions and equipment are contaminated with the bacteria.

Common sources of infection includes: undercooked meats (especially turkey or chicken), raw or cracked eggs, or raw (unpasteurized) milk. Also, failing to refrigerate these leftover foods promptly may allow the bacteria to grow. Cooking at higher temperatures can kill the bacteria.

Reptiles are carriers of salmonella and having a pet such as a turtle, snakes, iguana or other lizard can put a person at higher risk.

Salmonella Infections Diagnosis And Treatment

Diagnosis will initially be based on the observation of the earlier mentioned symptoms. If symptoms are present, an evaluation by a physician is encouraged, especially if diarrhea or vomiting persist or increase. The evaluation may include a physical examination or blood and stool analysis to detect the presence of the salmonella bacteria. The local health department may need to be informed to help identify the source (ie restaurant, supermarket, etc.).

The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people make a full recovery without treatment. However, in some cases, dirrhea or vomiting can be so severe that hospitalization is necessary.

Treatment usually focused on preventing dehydration and electrolyte imbalance by encouraging fluid intake (Pedialyte for infants and children, adults may use a sports drink). Antidiarrheal medicine is typically not given because it may prolong the infection.

Following a BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast may reduce symptoms of diarrhea because these binding foods that make stool firmer. Warm compresses may ease abdominal pain.