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What Are the Signs of Salmonella Food Poisoning?

By Alex Paul
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Signs of salmonella food poisoning can include diarrhea, headaches and a fever. The severity of the symptoms, and how long they last, depends on how serious the infection is. A person suffering from salmonella food poisoning also may have abdominal cramps and nausea. Excessive diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which can cause severe symptoms, including death, which is why a doctor should be consulted if diarrhea lasts for more than 24 hours.

The symptoms of salmonella food poisoning vary, depending on how severe the infection is. Less serious forms of the infection don’t cause as many symptoms, and the symptoms that are present tend to be less difficult to deal with. It can take up to a week for mild salmonella food poisoning to disappear, while more serious cases take longer and may require treatment such as antibiotics.

Diarrhea is probably the most common sign of salmonella food poisoning, because it occurs in both mild and more severe forms of the infection. Salmonella doesn’t cause diarrhea with blood in most cases. With a mild infection, a person with salmonella food poisoning usually only has diarrhea a few times in the course of 24 hours. Severe infections can cause a person to have diarrhea excessively and repeatedly. This type of food poisoning also can cause a person to feel nauseous and suffer from vomiting.

Another common sign of salmonella food poisoning is abdominal cramping. This symptom can range from mildly uncomfortable to very painful, depending on the severity of the infection. Other signs of salmonella food poisoning include headaches that don’t go away and a fever. These symptoms can all be caused by a variety of different conditions, which is why salmonella is often just referred to as food poisoning.

Diarrhea and vomiting often can lead to dehydration, which causes a number of more severe symptoms and can be life threatening. For this reason, it’s essential for a person with salmonella food poisoning to stay hydrated as much as possible. Symptoms of dehydration include very dry skin, dark colored urine, a feeling of weakness and strong thirst. If the diarrhea lasts for longer than a day, or if a person starts to suffer from dehydration, then it’s important to visit a doctor immediately. This also is the case if the person has blood in the diarrhea, a high temperature, signs of jaundice, strong and painful stomach cramps, or intense and frequent diarrhea.

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Discussion Comments

By ddljohn — On Jul 22, 2013

I think what differentiates salmonella from other types of food poisoning is how long the diarrhea lasts. The diarrhea continues all day and night and even longer if it's not treated.

By fify — On Jul 22, 2013

@ZipLine-- Actually, any raw food or food that's not properly cooked can cause salmonella food poisoning. I had it from homemade mayonnaise, the raw eggs were the culprit.

About twenty minutes into eating the mayonnaise, I started to feel unwell. I felt nauseated and started to vomit. I also had a headache. About an hour later, the diarrhea started. I didn't know it was salmonella at this point. It was only after I started getting a cold sweat and my mom noticing that I have a fever, that we started suspecting salmonella. I went to the hospital. They gave me an IV serum with antibiotics inside and did a blood test. That's when I learned it was salmonella.

So whether you eat at home or outside, just be careful wit raw food. If the food is cooked, it should be fine.

By ZipLine — On Jul 21, 2013

Wasn't there a salmonella outbreak a few years ago in one of the restaurant chains? If I remember correctly many people were affected and were hospitalized due to salmonella poisoning. They had severe diarrhea, fever and became dehydrated.

Ever since, I've been scared while eating out. I try to avoid fast food and only go to higher-end restaurants. I've had food poisoning many times before and the last thing I need is salmonella poisoning.

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