How is salmonellosis diagnosed?
Salmonellosis is diagnosed based on a medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms, foods you have recently eaten, and your work and home environments. A stool culture and blood tests may be done to confirm the diagnosis.
How is it treated?
You treat salmonellosis by managing any complications until it passes. Dehydration caused by diarrhea is the most common complication. Antibiotics are not usually needed unless the infection has spread.
To prevent dehydration, take frequent sips of a rehydration drink (such as Pedialyte). Try to drink a cup of water or rehydration drink for each large, loose stool you have. Soda and fruit juices have too much sugar and not enough of the important electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea, and they should not be used to rehydrate.
Try to stay with your usual diet as much as possible. Eating your usual diet will help you to get enough nutrition. Doctors believe that eating a normal diet will also help you feel better faster. But try to avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar. Also avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and coffee for 2 days after all symptoms have disappeared.
How can you prevent salmonellosis?
To prevent salmonellosis:
- Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs. Raw eggs may be used in some foods such as homemade hollandaise sauce, Caesar and other salad dressings, tiramisu, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, cookie dough, and frostings.
- Cook foods until they are well done. Use a meat thermometer to be sure foods are cooked to a safe temperature. Do not use the color of the meat (such as when it is no longer "pink") to tell you that it is done.
- Avoid raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products.
- Wash or peel produce before eating it.
- Avoid cross-contamination of food. Keep uncooked meats separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods. Thoroughly wash hands, cutting boards, counters, knives, and other utensils after handling uncooked foods.
- Wash your hands before handling any food and between handling different food items.
- Do not prepare food or pour water for others when you have salmonellosis.
- Wash your hands after contact with animal feces. Since reptiles are particularly likely to carry salmonella bacteria, wash your hands immediately after handling them. Consider not having reptiles (including turtles) as pets, especially if you have small children or an infant.