Salmonellosis is the name for the illness people get when their bodies are contaminated with the salmonella bacteria. This kind of infection generally leads to diarrhea, and it’s not unusual for people to also have problems with vomiting. The severity of salmonellosis varies significantly. It can be dangerous under certain circumstances, but usually people are able to recover without that much difficulty.
There are many different ways to contract salmonellosis. One of the most common ways is through contaminated food, especially meats that have been undercooked. Many people enjoy eating their meet cooked rare, and they may feel that it isn’t that dangerous, but experts say that it can increase a person’s chances of contracting salmonellosis. Another common way of catching the disease is through contact with animal feces or contact with the feces of an infected person. This contact doesn’t have to be direct—the illness can be caught when touching a toilet seat or some other item that was accidentally contaminated with feces.
Hand washing is often recommended as the best way to avoid salmonella poisoning. Some experts also recommend using thermometers on cooked meats to ensure that they reach a safe temperature. In general, maintaining good hygiene, especially when cooking or spending time around food, is considered the best way to avoid infection.
In many cases, when people are suffering from a so-called "stomach virus" or "stomach flu," they are actually dealing with the disease. It’s generally a very common form of food poisoning, and usually people don’t actually go to the doctor when suffering from it. For most people, the symptoms go away without any treatment, so this lack of diagnosis isn’t often a big problem.
In certain rare situations, salmonellosis can become dangerous. Sometimes a person will have a particularly bad infection, and they may run a fever or vomit until they are severely dehydrated. In these situations, doctors may prescribe antibiotics, or they may even hospitalize people to help rehydrate them. There are also cases where salmonella can get into a person’s bloodstream, which can potentially be deadly. This is particularly common in people with weaker immune systems.
For most people, dealing with salmonella poisoning is just a matter of getting some bed rest and staying hydrated. Experts say that it usually takes less than a week for a person’s immune system to fight off most of the symptoms. People suffering from salmonella can potentially spread it to others through accidental or indirect fecal contact, so staying home can potentially help prevent outbreaks.