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Salmonella is a form of food poisoning which is caused by one of many types of bacteria. There are two types of bacteria most common in the United States. It is much more common that Salmonella will happen in the summer compared to the winter. Children are also much more likely to get Salmonella. Those who have an impaired immune system stand a higher chance of severe infection brought about the Salmonella.

If you eat food that is contaminated with Salmonella you will get the food poisoning associated with it. Food can be contaminated during the processing or handling of it. It can be contaminated by unwashed hands holding it. A frequent cause of Salmonella poisoning is when food handlers do not wash their hands using soap after they use the bathroom. It can also be found in the feces of pets that have diarrhea. So if you come into contact with these feces and do not wash your hands after it can cause an infection. Small rodents, reptiles, and baby chicks and ducks are more likely to carry Salmonella which means you should wash your hands as soon as you handle one. Adults should make sure that their children wash their hands after they have handled small pets like these. Some foods such as milk, eggs, beef, and poultry can be infected with Salmonella and those foods which are contaminated often look normal and smell normal.

If you have Salmonella poisoning you will start to develop diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and a fever within 12 to 72 hours after you have consumed the infected food. The illness will typically last between four and seven days. Many people who become infected with Salmonella will recover without needing professional medical treatment, but the dehydration that results from the diarrhea might be so severe that you will need to go to the hospital. People who have an otherwise compromised immune system will be at a higher risk for increased illness and symptoms.

If the only symptom of the Salmonella poisoning is diarrhea, those who are infected will typically cover entirely, but it might take months before the bowel movements return to normal. There are a small number of people who after contracting Salmonella will also develop Reiter’s syndrome. This is a disease which can cause chronic arthritis and might last for a few months to a few years after it has started.