Common Poisons And Treatments Causes Poisoning Salmonella

Salmonella bacteria are the most commonly reported cause of food poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40,000 salmonella poisoning cases are reported in the United States each year. The number of children under five diagnosed with salmonella poisoning each year is five times that of people of any other age.

Nontyphoidal salmonella is usually responsible for salmonella poisoning. Nontyphoidal salmonella is carried by chickens, cows and various reptiles. When food containing salmonella bacteria is ingested, it can cause salmonella poisoning.

Salmonella bacteria usually live in the intestines of animals, people and birds; food becomes infected when it is contaminated with feces. Foods that commonly become contaminated with salmonella bacteria include:

  • Fruits and vegetables: May be irrigated with contaminated water or infected by coming into contact with raw meat.
  • Raw eggs: May be contaminated by infected chickens.
  • Raw meat and poultry: May be contaminated by feces during butchering.

Food can also become contaminated with salmonella bacteria when people neglect to wash their hands after:

  • Changing a diaper
  • Handling infected pets, particularly birds and reptiles
  • Using the bathroom.

Symptoms: Salmonella Poisoning

Depending on the severity of the salmonella poisoning, salmonella bacteria can cause a variety of symptoms. One of the most common salmonella-induced illnesses is gastroenteritis, which is typically caused by eating raw meat, or meat that has not been well cooked. Symptoms of gastroenteritis linked to salmonella poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting.

In some cases, salmonella poisoning can also cause typhoid fever, especially if you’ve recently traveled outside the country. Early symptoms of typhoid fever mirror the gastroenteritis symptoms associated with nontyphoidal bacteria. In the second week, however, additional symptoms may include:

  • Constipation
  • Enlargement of the spleen and liver
  • Rose-colored skin rash
  • Slowing of the heartbeat.

Signs of Salmonella Poisoning

Signs of salmonella poisoning become evident within three days following consumption of contaminated food or liquid, and sometimes within just hours. Because several illnesses can cause similar symptoms — such as vomiting — it’s important to see your doctor immediately if you suspect salmonella poisoning.

For an accurate diagnosis of food poisoning, salmonella bacteria presence in a stool or blood sample may be analyzed by your doctor. If the symptoms of salmonella poisoning become severe, it’s imperative to call 911 and seek emergency attention right away.

Treating and Preventing Salmonella Poisoning

Treatment for salmonella poisoning often involves controlling the symptoms to prevent dehydration and further complications. Health care providers may prescribe medications including:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-diarrheals
  • Fever-reducing medications.

To help prevent salmonella poisoning, it’s important to take precautions, such as:

  • Cooking meat, poultry and fish to a safe internal temperature
  • Separating raw meat and poultry from other foods in the refrigerator and during preparation
  • Washing hands, especially after diaper changes, using the restroom, preparing food and cleaning up pet feces.

Resources

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Salmonella infection symptoms. Retrieved May 9, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/salmonella/ds00926/dsection=symptoms.

KidsHealth. (n.d.). Salmonella infections. Retrieved May 9, 2010, from http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/stomach/salmonellosis.html.

United States Department of Agriculture. (2006). Foodborne illness and disease. Retrieved May 9, 2010, from http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/salmonella_questions_