Salmonellosis is an infection caused by bacteria called Salmonella. Because the bacteria usually enter the body through food, the infection is also called food poisoning.
Salmonella can go from the intestine into your child’s bloodstream and infect other organs. Sometimes they cause a chronic (long-term) infection.
Salmonellosis can be very serious for very young children, or children with a weakened immune system. The immune system is the body's defense against infections.
The bacteria can live in the animal or human intestine. Animals can carry the bacteria without looking or acting sick. Contaminated food usually looks and smells normal.
Your child may get infected if:
Your child may start feeling sick 8 hours to 3 days after eating contaminated food. Symptoms may include:
If the infection spreads to your child’s blood, symptoms may include:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Your child may have tests such as:
The goal of treatment is to stop vomiting and diarrhea and prevent dehydration (losing too much fluid from your child’s body). If your child has lost a lot of fluid, he may need to stay at the hospital for fluids through an IV. He will also be checked for possible complications of dehydration, such as kidney problems.
If your child is undernourished, severely ill, very young, or has sickle cell disease, your child’s provider may prescribe antibiotic medicine.
Salmonella food poisoning usually lasts 3 to 5 days. Your child may still have bacteria in his system for a while after he no longer has symptoms.
More serious salmonella infections--blood poisoning and typhoid fever--are treated with antibiotics. In some cases your child may need to be treated at the hospital. It may take 2 weeks or longer to recover from blood poisoning or typhoid fever.
Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Make sure that your child takes all medicines exactly as prescribed. If your child stops taking the medicine too soon, the infection may come back. If your child has side effects from the medicine, talk to your provider.
Here are some things you can do to help your child feel better:
Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
Salmonella can be a serious health threat to you and the people around you. It cannot be treated with many of the antibiotics that are usually used to treat infections. Prevention is very important. These steps can help prevent food poisoning: