How Urgent Is a Salmonella Infection?

February 2, 2024

You might be wondering what all the fuss is when it comes to antibiotic resistance and the reluctance of medical professionals to issue antibiotic prescriptions. Salmonella is part of that reason. For more information, continue reading as our AFC Urgent Care Knoxville team explains more about what to expect regarding a salmonella infection and when to be concerned.

What Is Salmonella?

Salmonella is an infection of the intestines spread by a bacterium and its resistance to essential antibiotics is increasing which limits treatment options for those with more severe infections. Incidences among infants, particularly invasive infections among Black and Asian infants, have been rising gradually since the mid-2000s and are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality.

While salmonella can be dangerous for infants, for most people it is a short-lived though uncomfortable experience.

Where Do You Commonly Catch Salmonella?

Taking precautions against salmonella infection takes a certain level of awareness because exposure can come from several directions. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from exposure is to follow food preparation safety guidelines. Keep raw or undercooked meat or animal products, such as eggs, away from other foods and wash surfaces, hands, and utensils well between meal preparation steps. Fruit and vegetables can also carry the salmonella bacterium as they are often fertilized with the byproducts of potentially affected animals, so they should be washed well before they are eaten, even if you plan to cook them.

Salmonella is most often spread through exposure to infected animals and their environments. The most common culprits of contagion are cattle, pigs, fowl, reptiles, and amphibians. The family dog can also transmit salmonella, though they pass it to humans rather than getting it themselves. Do be mindful that you can also catch salmonella from another person who has an active infection.

Top 5 Symptoms of Salmonella

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Headache

When should I see a Doctor for Salmonella Infections?

Fortunately, most people recover from a salmonella infection within a week with mild to moderate symptoms and without the need for medical intervention.

Certain populations should keep a watchful eye on their symptoms as there is a chance that the infection could become more severe and cause extreme dehydration, which can be dangerous.

Who Is at Risk for Salmonella?

  • Babies or very young
  • Living with sickle cell disease
  • Without a functioning spleen
  • Taking drugs that affect the immune system or have a compromised immune system
  • Taking cancer-fighting drugs
  • Taking chronic stomach acid suppression medicine
  • Over the age of 65

If you are unsure whether you should seek the help of a medical professional or simply wait out your symptoms, be sure to consult and carefully weigh whether you fall into a category with increased risk, or if your symptoms have become more severe.

Recognizing a Severe Salmonella Infection

  • Symptoms lasting more than a few days
  • Bloody stools
  • A high-grade fever of 102 degrees or higher that won’t go away
  • Severe dehydration

We know stomach issues can be painful and frustrating. Visit us at AFC Urgent Care Knoxville for a diagnosis.

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