Salmonella is a gram-negative, rod shaped bacteria that is the prominent cause of food poisoning in human beings. The infection or the food poisoning caused by salmonella is known Salmonellosis. Food poisoning and typhoid fever are the two diseases that are caused due to salmonella poisoning. Salmonella enters the human body primarily through milk and eggs. Secondly, it can also be found in raw meats and raw sea food. On the other hand, salmonella can also be found in fruits and vegetables that are contaminated with fecal matter. As the fish and poultry do not seem infected to the naked eye, it is difficult to find the presence of salmonella in them.
Causes of Salmonella Poisoning
Salmonella is found in the intestines of mammals, reptiles and birds. When it enters the human body, it causes infection and a disease known as Salmonellosis. Gastroenteritis, another gastrointestinal disease is can also be caused due to an ingestion of salmonella. Food poisoning can occur in a person if he eats uncooked or contaminated food. Touching reptiles, living turtles and birds can also cause salmonella to come in contact with human beings. Salmonella is not a threat as long as it is not ingested.
Symptoms of Salmonella Poisoning
The symptoms of salmonella poisoning are similar to that of other digestive system diseases. Vomiting and diarrhea are the most prominent symptoms. But, along with these, the following are other symptoms that are observed when a person is suffering from salmonella infection
- Abdominal pain
Treatment for Salmonella Poisoning
Usually it is observed that the infection gets cured by itself within 4-5 days. However, as the person gets severely dehydrated, it is necessary to consult the doctor. Extreme dehydration can lead to severe complications and even death. In case of severe diarrhea, IV (intravenous feeding of nutrients) is required. Similarly, it is essential to maintain the electrolytic level of the body. Hence, the doctor may administer electrolyte fluids to prevent dehydration. On the hand, typhoid fever is more serious than salmonella poisoning and hence needs different treatment methods. Typhoid fever can be treated thorough antibiotics.
One should also remember that typhoid fever can be contagious. With the treatment methods, the salmonella bacteria is completely eradicated from the human body. Salmonella poisoning can be completely treated and there are no long term effects of it. In rare cases, a person may suffer from irregular bowel movements for a couple of months after the food poisoning has been cured.
Prevention of Salmonella Poisoning
Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene is essential for the prevention of salmonella poisoning. Children as well as adults should wash hands before having meals. Children and old people specially should be discouraged from eating outside, as they are more susceptible to getting infected. Similarly, food handlers at homes and restaurants, should maintain hygiene and keep cleanliness while handling and preparing food. As mentioned above, salmonella can get ingested in the human body through meat and poultry, and so one needs to be extra careful when handling these.
One should use separate and clean utensils, knives and chopping boards when handling or cooking meat. At the same time, when purchasing precooked or frozen meat, one needs to check the label properly and return it back, when in doubt. If one is using fruits and vegetables from his own garden, one should make use of fertilizers and good manure to kill the harmful bacteria. Fruits and vegetables should also be washed thoroughly before cooking!
One should remember that although salmonella poisoning treatment is available, prevention is always the best method!