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Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories,NIAID,NIH Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph showing Salmonella typhimurium (red) invading cultured human cells.

Salmonella

By Allen Bryan

Having an egg every morning for protein is a healthful dietary habit, but it could also cause a type of food poisoning known as Salmonella. The infection is called Salmonellosis, but is widely known by the bacteria’s genus name, Salmonella. There are at least three species of Salmonella, and they are all pathogenic. Runs to the restroom, high fevers, and stomach cramps are potential symptoms.

There are many sources of a Salmonella infection. Beef, pork, and chicken are three of the main causes of salmonella, and drinking milk and eating eggs that have been contaminated are also common. Salmonella bacteria can also be found in sources of drinking water that have not been purified. If meat or contaminated water comes into contact with vegetables, they can become contaminated as well. There are also many different animals that can host the Salmonella infection such as dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles.

There are many symptoms to Salmonella, some of which are very serious. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and high fevers are expected to come with the virus. These symptoms typically start after 12 to 96 hours of exposure. There are some cases where symptoms can even start 2 weeks after being exposed to the infection. The illness usually resolves within 5-7 days. Salmonella is actually very common in the U.S. There are about 1 million cases of Salmonella reported all around the U.S. Do not take Salmonella lightly, however. It can be fatal to those with weaker immune systems, such as the elderly and the young.

Because Salmonella is so common, there is medicine to help the immune system fight against it. Though water is not medicine, it is highly advised by doctors to hydrate with water and electrolytes because Salmonellosis causes dehydration. Medications such as loperamide (Imodium A-D) can help relieve cramping, but they may also prolong the diarrhea associated with salmonella infection. There are many signs that you need a doctor and medical attention. If you remain ill after more than 7 days or you have severe or bloody diarrhea, go to the doctors immediately.  Also, if you have a fever of 101.5 F or higher for more than a day, it is also beneficial to seek for medical attention.

Salmonella is a very serious infection that can cause symptoms of diarrhea, cramps, and a fever for over a week. Make sure to always cook your meat and poultry well and be careful not to contaminate other foods. When finished cooking, make sure to clean the cutting boards and countertops that were used. If you have symptoms of Salmonella, make sure to immediately see a doctor for help.

 

About Kevin Bryan

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