How Salmonella Is Treated

As you cope with the signs and symptoms associated with a salmonella infection, determining your best treatment options is key to a prompt and successful recovery. Whether or not you’ll require treatment for salmonella depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the condition, how long you’ve had it, and if you’re experiencing dehydration.

Let’s take a look at the available treatment options for salmonella.   

Home Remedies and Lifestyle

Stay Hydrated

Since salmonella infections can cause vomiting and diarrhea, it’s important to stay hydrated as best you can. If you’re an adult, increase your fluid intake of water, broths, sports drinks, caffeine-free drinks, or fruit juices. If your nausea is substantial, you may find that beverages are difficult to drink. In this case, try sucking on ice chips throughout the day, which you may find is a more tolerable way to rehydrate.

For children who experience mild to modern dehydration, an oral solution such as Pedialyte, aimed at rehydrating the child, can be useful in restoring the lost nutrients and electrolytes. Furthermore, if the child is unwell but not exhibiting signs of dehydration, increase their fluid intake more frequently.

When you lose more fluid than you consume, dehydration can creep up on you. The signs of dehydration may vary from one person to another and fluctuate with age. In adults, consider the following as signs of dehydration:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Decreased urinary frequency or output
  • Darker than normal urine color
  • Dizziness
  • Episodes of confusion
  • Extreme fatigue

Children may show the signs of dehydration differently. They include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dry or sticky tongue
  • An absence of tears when the child cries
  • Sunken cheeks or the soft spot on the top of the child’s head
  • Frequency of urination decreases
  • Diapers remain dry for three hours or more
  • Lethargy
  • Increased irritability or crying more often

Seek advice from your healthcare provider if you or a child is displaying signs of dehydration or are unable to keep fluids down.

Eat Mild Foods

Certain foods have been known to worsen salmonella symptoms like diarrhea, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The foods to avoid include:

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Dairy products
  • Fried or greasy foods
  • Sugary drinks
  • Fruits like apples, peaches, or pears
  • Spicy foods
  • Drinks containing artificial sweeteners

When you feel like your stomach is up to handling some food, a mild, bland diet might be your best bet. You’ve probably heard of the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Although research doesn’t indicate that this diet is better or more helpful than other ones, for some people the BRAT diet can be a non-irritating way to reintroduce food to a delicate digestive tract. Eat small meals whenever your symptoms allow and continue to drink replenishing fluids.

Try a Heating Pad

For some people, a heating pad on a low setting my ease abdominal cramping. However, it may not be comfortable for all who have vomiting and diarrhea due to salmonella. If you try it, and it doesn’t help you, stop using it—you won’t recover more quickly by pushing through something that’s uncomfortable to you.

Rest

Many people recover from salmonella infection with a combination of rest and maintaining adequate fluid intake. Try to lighten your load and get plenty of rest until symptoms subside so that your body can heal.  

Over-the-Counter Therapies

Pain medications

Over-the-counter painkillers, like ibuprofen, may be useful to reduce body aches and pains and lessen symptoms.

Antidiarrheals

In some cases, antidiarrheal medications, like Immodium, might decrease the abdominal discomfort associated with salmonella. But this type of medication has some drawbacks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Antidiarrheals may extend the length of time you experience diarrhea from the infection.

Probiotics  

In 2013, a team of microbiologists from the University of California, Irvine found that a probiotic strain originally used to treat the symptoms of irritable bowel may soothe gut infections caused by salmonella. The probiotic known to be helpful is a strain of E. coli called Nissle 1917. Researchers indicated this probiotic strain was only available in Germany. However, 2018 findings suggest this beneficial bacteria can be found in the U.S. market as well—though availability of it is limited.

If you’re interested in the use of probiotics, consult with your doctor to find one that might be right for you.

Prescriptions 

Typically, people recover from salmonella without medical intervention in a four to seven-day timeframe. In uncomplicated cases of the infection, antibiotics aren’t recommended.

But if your infection persists, you have a compromised immune system, or the infection has entered your bloodstream, your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics for you. Some of the antibiotics used to treat the infection include amoxicillin, cefotaxime, and ciprofloxacin, to name a few.

However, antibiotic treatment poses some risks, including an increased possibility of a relapse. Also, the antibiotics may extend the amount of time you carry the bacteria and prolong the stage where you can infect others with salmonella.

Additionally, if you’re dealing with severe dehydration or have been ill for longer than seven days, you may require hospitalization. In the hospital, you may receive intravenous (IV) fluids or antibiotics to overcome the infection.

Specialist-Driven Procedures

In most cases of salmonella, surgery isn’t required to recover from the infection. In fact, many people will get well with a mix of home treatments and lifestyle modifications. However, if you experience a high fever, blood in your stool or signs of dehydration, consult with your doctor. If necessary, they will recommend additional specialists or procedures.

Complementary Medicine (CAM) 

Because infections like salmonella can become antibiotic-resistant, there’s a need to conduct studies in the complementary alternative medicine realm of healthcare. But to date, no research has been conducted on humans in this medical subset.

How to Prevent Salmonella
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