Protect yourself from Salmonella

Protect yourself from Salmonella

Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract and is commonly a result of contaminated food or water. Salmonella also can spread from animals to people and from people to people. Always wash your hands after contact with animals.


With summer starting and large gatherings more common, it is important to protect yourself and others from Salmonella.

Most people with a Salmonella infection experience diarrhea (that can be bloody), fever and stomach cramps, and some also have nausea, vomiting or a headache.

Symptoms usually start within six hours, four days after infection, and last four to seven days.

Five fast facts from the Centers for Disease Control on Salmonella:

You can get a Salmonella infection from a variety of foods. Salmonella can be found in many foods including sprouts and other vegetables, eggs, chicken, pork, fruits, and even processed foods such as nut butters, frozen pot pies, chicken nuggets and stuffed chicken entrees. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal, which is why it is important to know how to prevent infection.

Salmonella also can spread from animals to people and from people to people. Always wash your hands after contact with animals. Also wash your hands after using the toilet, changing diapers or helping someone with diarrhea clean up after using the toilet. If you have a Salmonella infection, you should not prepare food or drinks for others until you no longer have diarrhea.

Salmonella illness is more common in the summer. Warmer weather and unrefrigerated foods create ideal conditions for Salmonella to grow. Be sure to refrigerate or freeze perishables (foods likely to spoil or go bad quickly), prepared foods and leftovers within two hours (or one hour if the temperature outside is 90 F or hotter).

Salmonella illness can be serious and is more dangerous for certain people. Anyone can get a Salmonella infection, but some people are more likely to develop a serious illness including children younger than 5, older adults and people with immune systems weakened from a medical condition such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and cancer or its treatment.

Salmonella causes far more illnesses than you might suspect. For every person with a Salmonella illness confirmed by a laboratory test, there are about 30 more people with Salmonella illnesses that are not reported. Most people who get food poisoning do not go to a doctor or submit a sample to a laboratory, so it’s never learned what germ made them sick.

Call your doctor or primary-care provider if you have diarrhea and a fever higher than 102 F, diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving, bloody stools, prolonged vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquids down, signs of dehydration such as making very little urine, dry mouth and throat, and dizziness when standing up.

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