Health Break | Published June 23, 2008 | Written by Kasandra Botti, DO, FACEP

Q&A on Salmonella with ED physician

What are the most common months for people to come to the Emergency Department with the illness?

Salmonella is more common in the summer months because more people are eating outdoors (grilling) which may lead to undercooked foods. There is also more handling of animals which may carry salmonella in the summer months.

What is the most common way for people to become infected with salmonella?

Contaminated food is the most common way for people to contract salmonella. 95% of cases are food-borne.

What are some tips for prevention?

To prevent salmonella:

  1. Cook poultry, eggs, and meat thoroughly

  2. Wash hands and utensils thoroughly after contacting raw meat and poultry

  3. Wash hands after handling reptiles, birds, baby chicks, and pet feces

In general...wash hands before any food handling.

If infected, what steps should be taken?

Seek medical treatment for diagnosis by stool sample and culture. Patients may receive IV fluids and antibiotics.

What are the most common signs of the illness?

Fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually start 1-2 days after infected and the symptoms can last for a week.

Q&A provided by Kasandra Botti, DO, FACEP, Mount Nittany Medical Center, Medical Director, Prehospital Services Department