Salmonella is a type of food poisoning caused by unsanitary methods of preparing food, or inadequate cooking of meat or eggs. Drinking polluted water can also cause it. The major symptoms for salmonella are diarrhea, and especially among children, high fevers, confusion, headache and even seizures.
Salmonella may be spread from person-to-person, so those who are taking care of patients must undertake utmost care and practice rigid sanitary methods to avoid being infected as well.
If you or someone you know has salmonella, what are the proper ways to treat them?
Salmonella can be treated at home. Mild cases of salmonella usually last from one to four days, and overall recovery can be achieved within 10-14 days. If a child or an elderly person over 60 is infected, then it may be best to consult a physician. Also, children with sickle cell disease, and other causes of anemia, are among those with higher risk of complications from salmonella, so doctors must be consulted.
Get adequate rest. Rest is very important for somebody infected with salmonella; he should stay in the bedroom and refrain from eating regular meals; a liquid diet is recommended in order to rest the infected digestive tract. A bathroom must also be easily accessible, as the victim is prone to use it often due to diarrhea.
Refrain from taking antibiotics, unless the doctor prescribes it. Usually, antibiotics are not necessary in the treatment of salmonella symptoms; in fact, some studies show that antibiotics can prolong the manifestations of salmonella. In some cases, however, it may be necessary for cases wherein the patient is identified as immuno-suppressed (such as patients undergoing chemotherapy or with AIDS).
Stay hydrated. One of the main complications a patient with salmonella symptoms faces is dehydration. He must make it a point to consume lots of water (even though the last thing he may feel like doing is to ingest something), or fluids containing electrolytes such as sports drinks.
In case the patient suffers from dehydration, he would need to be admitted to a hospital.
Upon recovery, gradually ease back into a regular diet. After a few days, a patient may normally expect to gain full recovery; however, he must not shock his digestive system by suddenly consuming regular, heavy meals. He should make it a point to eat light, warm and easy to digest meals such as soups, mashed potatoes, fruits and vegetables.
As with most other sicknesses, the key is always prevention. One must always make sure that he is consuming thoroughly cleaned, well-washed food, especially in the case of meat and eggs. This is also true for fruits and vegetables that are eaten raw. Drinking water should also be taken cautiously, especially during travels to a different country--one good piece of advice for travelers is that they should always bring bottled water, whose brand they are familiar with, during travels. Cleaning hands with soap and water, especially before handling foods and eating, them is vital.