Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Food Poisoning Health Center

Font Size

Food Poisoning

How Is Salmonella Infection Diagnosed and Treated?

If you think you may have been exposed to the salmonella infection, see your doctor. By testing a sample of stool, the bacteria can be identified.

Salmonella infections usually go away in five to seven days and often do not require treatment unless you become severely dehydrated or the infection spreads outside of the intestines. If treatment is needed, antibiotics are prescribed.

How Can I Avoid Salmonella?

To prevent salmonella infection, avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or poultry products, including eggs. It is also important to avoid "cross-contamination," which can occur if food is being prepared using the same utensils, or on the same surfaces, as those used for raw or undercooked meats or poultry products.

Wash hands frequently during and after food preparation. Those with a salmonella infection should not be involved in food preparation.

Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, birds, or after contact with pet feces. Avoid contact between reptiles (turtles, iguanas, other lizards, and snakes) and infants or people with weakened immune systems.

What Is Shigella?

Shigella is a bacteria generally transmitted through feces. It causes dysentery, an infection of the intestines that causes severe diarrhea. The disease generally occurs in tropical or temperate climates, especially under conditions of crowding, where personal hygiene is poor.

Symptoms of shigella include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps

How Is Shigella Diagnosed and Treated?

If you think you may have been exposed to shigella, see your doctor. By testing a sample of stool, the bacteria can be identified.

People with mild infections usually recover within a few days without special treatment. Drinking fluids to prevent dehydration is usually all that is needed. However, with severe infections, antibiotics and more aggressive treatment to prevent dehydration are often needed.

How Can Shigella Infection Be Avoided?

The shigella bacteria from stools of infected people can be passed to others if hygiene or hand-washing habits are inadequate. To help prevent transmitting the infection, always wash hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers.

What Is E. Coli O157:H7?

E. coli O157:H7 is a growing cause of food-borne illness. An estimated 73,000 cases of these E. coli infections occur in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC.

Most E. coli O157:H7 infections have been associated with eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef. Drinking unpasteurized milk and swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water can also cause infection. Bacteria from stools of infected people can be passed to others if less than adequate hygiene or hand-washing habits are present. Young children often continue to shed the organism in their feces for a week or two after their illness resolves.

Symptoms of E.coli infection can include severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps, but sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhea, a slight fever, or no symptoms at all.

WebMD Medical Reference

Today on WebMD

shopper selecting beef
Practical tips.
woman holding abdomen
Learn the symptoms.
 
listeria bacteria and cantaloupe
Learn about listeria.
kebabs on a barbecue
Tips for grilling safely.
 
Are Some Eggs Safer Than Others
Article
Do You Need To Wash Bagged Salads
Video
 
Woman grilling seafood
Article
Organic Food Slideshow
Slideshow
 

Explore our newly expanded FDA Center on WebMD for timely information on food safety, allergies, diabetes, vitamins & supplements, and more!

turkey
Slideshow
The Dangers Of E Coli
Video
 
Secrets Of Safe Grilling
Slideshow
How Long Can You Keep Condiments
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections