While the human digestive tract is full of countless dead bacterium cells known as salmonella, ingesting even a miniscule amount of live salmonella can lead to a very serious illness. Not only can this infection become extremely uncomfortable, but patients who have a weakened immune system could be looking at serious medical complications if the situation goes untreated. This is why it is so important to understand the symptoms of salmonella poisoning in order to treat this issue as quickly as possible.
Many of the symptoms of a salmonella infection are similar to those of other medical conditions; this is why it is important to think about your cooking practices, diet, and even hygiene to explore if salmonella is likely the cause of an illness. Primarily, salmonella infections will be contracted through undercooked or uncooked foods that include eggs, poultry, and beef. If you own a pet, it’s important to keep in mind that salmonella can also linger on the skin of reptiles, in fish tanks, and around the droppings of cats and dogs.
Depending on the type of salmonella that you come into contact with, you can experience a variety of symptoms, many of which resemble a common stomach flu or virus. Primarily, this infection will result in nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and a headache. If the infection goes untreated or is derived from a more powerful strain, patients may experience stool in their vomit, chills, or even a high fever.
If a person exhibits symptoms immediately after ingesting a food suspected of contamination, it almost entirely rules out salmonella as the culprit. In most cases, salmonella takes a minimum of 12 hours to fully enter the digestive tract, attack the intestines, and begin to develop secondary bacteria.
Salmonella patients may not experience any symptoms whatsoever for three or more days. For the average patient, most symptoms will begin to occur between 12 and 24 hours after ingesting the infected food. While most individuals will be completely over these symptoms within three to seven days, some lingering effects, such as dehydration, headaches, and abdominal discomfort, can last for weeks.
For younger children and the elderly, a salmonella infection can become life-threatening, but most individuals with a healthy immune system will be able to handle the infection naturally. This means that many medical specialists endorse treating the symptoms of the salmonella poisoning as the body naturally flushes the bacteria out of their patients’ systems. Basic over-the-counter medications can be used to help with nausea and headaches, but the primary concern is hydration. If you experience symptoms for longer than a few days or show signs of severe dehydration, immediately seek medical attention.
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