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How to Recognize the Symptoms of Salmonella Poisoning

Eating food contaminated with the salmonella bacteria is the most common way to be infected. Learn what symptoms and causes to look for to determine if this bacteria is what's making you sick.


  • Step 1: Observe the physical signs Look for abdominal cramps, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea, as these are the main physical indicators of the salmonella bacteria. These symptoms generally diminish without medical intervention in four to seven days.
  • TIP: Babies, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk of contracting severe cases of salmonella poisoning.
  • Step 2: Calculate the incubation period Be aware that the bacteria's incubation period is generally 12 to 72 hours after the onset of infection. Think back to what you ate or touched during that period to determine if it's salmonella poisoning.
  • TIP: Reptiles, baby chicks, and pet rodents, such as gerbils, may also carry the salmonella bacteria. Be sure to wash your hands after handling these animals.
  • Step 3: Discern what you ingested Examine the leftovers of the foods you ate. While they may appear safe, beef, poultry, eggs, milk, and vegetables are often salmonella culprits. Check for recent recalls to see if any of your food was involved.
  • Step 4: Seek medical care Seek medical care for severe symptoms, as you may need to be treated for dehydration. Additionally, a stool sample or blood test can confirm the presence of the salmonella bacteria.
  • Step 5: Be aware of outbreaks Look for multiple cases involving the same symptoms and the same food source, which could indicate an outbreak of salmonella poisoning. Prevent spreading it with proper sanitary procedures, such as frequent hand washing, and don't indulge in potentially unhealthy practices, such as eating raw cookie dough.
  • FACT: Potentially deadly typhoid fever is caused by a strain of the salmonella bacteria that is common in developing regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

You Will Need

  • Foods
  • Recalls
  • Medical care
  • Multiple cases

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