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Salmonella infection: Symptoms and cures

These days, USA has been struck by the news that about one million pounds of pistachio products have been recalled due to the concerns about contamination with salmonella. The pistachio recall began on the 27th March when some pistachio samples tested positive for salmonella, but the contaminated pistachios are said not to be related to a recent outbreak of salmonella connected with peanuts. Bulk Deluxe Mixed Nuts and Dry Roasted Shelled Pistachios have been recalled and consumers are being warned to avoid pistachios and pistachio-containing products. The pistachio nuts are widely used as a food ingredient in everything from beef dishes to ice cream. FDA reports that Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc, the nation’s second largest producer of pistachios, may be contaminated with salmonella. The pistachios from Setton Pistachio seem to be the source of the contamination. Some sources say that the salmonella outbreak could be connected with white pepper. Washoe County and Carson City public health officials announced that local consumers should avoid consuming white pepper, processed, packaged or distributed by the Union International Food Company in Union City, California until further notice. Ground white pepper has been associated with the spread of salmonella. Salmonella can be very dangerous and the ongoing pistachio salmonella recalls remind us of the salmonella outbreak, caused by tainted peanuts. That salmonella outbreak was been linked with at least 690 illnesses and 9 deaths.

Salmonella symptoms – How do you know if you have been infected by salmonella?

Tender abdomen and tiny pink spots on the skin, called rose spots, could be the first signs of salmonella. People with strong, healthy immune system may not show any of the salmonella symptoms, but may remain contagious up to a year. In people with weaker immune system, salmonella causes high fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Anyone with these symptoms should consult with their healthcare provider. Usually nausea and vomiting are followed by muscle pains, fever and chills. The symptoms can last up to two weeks. Children, people of delicate health, elderly people and people with a very weakened immune system can experience serious infections, caused by salmonella. A very weakened immune system, attacked by salmonella could face serious complications such as meningitis (infection of the tissues, surrounding the brain and the spinal cord) and sepsis (infection of the bloodstream).

If salmonella enters the bloodstream, it can produce severe illness such as aneurism, endocarditis, arthritis, etc. Most common salmonella-related illnesses are Gastroenteritis (caused by the S. enteritidis bacteria, that can be present in raw or not-cooked-enough meat, in poultry, eggs and any egg products), Enteric fever (Typhoid fever, caused by the S. typhi bacteria, commonly present in water, contaminated with salmonella. If you are experiencing constipation, bradycardia, cough, sore throat, hepatosplenomegaly, headache or mental confusion, you could be experiencing symptoms of Typhoid fever).

How to cure salmonella

If you think you might be infected with salmonella, consult your doctor immediately. Being admitted to hospital is also possible. The doctor will perform a physical exam and maybe perform a stool culture test.
Salmonellosis is treated by fluid replacement, dietary modifications, antibiotics and sometimes with antidiarrheals. It is very important to replace the loss of fluids and electrolytes, caused by diarrhea caused and electrolyte solutions can be obtained without prescription. Because antidiarrheal medications may prolong the infection, they are generally not prescribed. In case of the salmonella symptoms being severe, you will probably get an antibiotic. If you have severe symptoms, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Changes should be made in your diet: Avoid all milk products and eat the so called BRAT foods: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast, that will make your stools firmer.

Salmonella in babies and children

In case of salmonella infection in infants, the baby should be breastfed and should receive electrolyte replacements, of course all under the doctor’s supervision.

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