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HealthInfo Canterbury


stomach-ache-maleSalmonella is a group of bacteria (germs) that can cause food poisoning. This can cause an infection called gastroenteritis.

The Salmonella infection (or Salmonellosis) is spread by eating contaminated food. It can also be spread from person to person due to poor hygiene such as poor hand washing.

Symptoms include diarrhoea and stomach cramps. They usually start between six and 72 hours after being infected. Some people feel sick and vomit. Symptoms usually last between three and five days.

How can I avoid getting Salmonella?

The best ways to avoid getting Salmonella are to practise good hand hygiene and follow food safety advice.

How do I know if I have Salmonella?

If you think you have Salmonella, you should visit your GP for testing and assessment. Your GP may arrange for a sample of your faeces (poo) to be tested.

If the tests find Salmonella, your GP will report this to the local public health team. They may contact you for more information. This is to help stop the infection spreading further.

How is Salmonella treated?

There's no specific treatment for Salmonella. The treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms. You should rest and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

When and where should I seek help?

You should see your GP if you have bloody diarrhoea or a fever, or if your symptoms haven't gone away after seven days. You should also see your GP if you're very unwell or if you have a weakened immune system.

You should take your child to your GP if they aren't drinking, if they're passing less urine than usual, or if they seem drowsy.

How can I avoid spreading Salmonella?

To reduce the risk of spreading the infection, it's important to have good hand hygiene. This includes washing your hands with soap and water.

Try to avoid preparing food if you have Salmonella. If you do prepare food, make sure you wash and dry your hands well first. Follow this food safety advice.

Stay away from work, community gatherings and school or preschool until you or your child have been free of symptoms for 24 to 48 hours. This includes the last time you had diarrhoea.

You should wait for at least two weeks after the last episode of diarrhoea before you go swimming in a pool.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2018.


See also:

About diarrhoea & vomiting (gastroenteritis)

Diarrhoea & vomiting in children

Page reference: 49697

Review key: HIGTE-81185