Salmonella is a family of bacteria responsible for numerous cases of gastrointestinal illness every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Salmonella causes 1.35 million infections and 420 deaths annually in the United States.

Children under 5 years old are the most at-risk group for salmonella infections, also known as salmonellosis. Infection is spread through contaminated food and water, or from coming in contact with feces or an animal carrying the bacteria.

Wondering whether your child has contracted Salmonella, and what to do if they have? Here’s what you need to know.

Allowing your young child to explore their environment is a wonderful way to support their development. However, all the touching and feeling little ones do puts them at higher risk of encountering Salmonella bacteria.

When a child touches something in their environment that harbors Salmonella bacteria (such as a pet, backyard chickens, or a dirty diaper), then puts their fingers in their mouth, the bacteria can cause infection. Diarrhea is typically the primary symptom.

Young children are more likely to get salmonella infections from consuming contaminated food or beverages.

“The most common foods that can have Salmonella are raw meat, including poultry, raw egg or undercooked eggs, and unpasteurized milk,” pediatrician Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD, says.

Kids may have a harder time fighting off infections because their immune systems are still developing.

How can you tell whether your child is sick with salmonellosis or another stomach illness?

Watch for these symptoms, which can occur within 6 hours to 6 days of encountering Salmonella bacteria:

In rare cases, children can die from salmonellosis. It is important to take symptoms seriously.

Infections in the body can cause serious illness, including infections in the brain, bones, and urine.

However, for most kids, the side effects and risks of salmonellosis are less severe. According to Poinsett, the main risk is dehydration.

It is important to provide fluids throughout the day for your child to stay hydrated during a bout of salmonella.

Watching your child experience abdominal pain, frequent There is a lot of diarrhea., and other unpleasant symptoms can be a very scary thing.

“If your child is sick with a gastrointestinal illness, you should contact their doctor. Even if you don’t need a doctor’s visit, talking with a medical professional can provide a lot of peace of mind.”

Getting medical attention is necessary in certain circumstances.

“Parents should contact their pediatrician if their child has vomiting and There is a lot of diarrhea., or if they are unable to keep down fluids,” Poinsett advises.

When are salmonellosis symptoms a medical emergency?

Young children can become life threatening if they get a Salmonella infection. If your child is in an emergency, Poinsett says to call emergency medical services.

  • Have bloody stools.
  • They are not able to keep fluids down.
  • show signs of dehydration, such as:
    • There is a throbbing head.
    • tear and urine production have been reduced.
    • The mouth is dry.
    • fatigue
    • sunken eyes

Because a host of childhood illnesses can come with symptoms like There is a lot of diarrhea. and There is a high degree of fever., your child’s doctor will perform tests to determine whether they have a salmonella infection.

Testing for a salmonella infection includes stool, blood, and urine cultures. To pinpoint the source of infection, a doctor will likely also do the following:

  • Take a look at what your child has eaten and drunk in the last few days.
  • Ask about the exposure to certain pets.
  • ask if other family members have become ill.

You can often treat salmonella at home.

“The primary treatment for salmonella infection is supportive, including fluid replacement,” Poinsett says. “Antibiotics are used mainly for children under 12 months of age and immunocompromised children. Antibiotics used include azithromycin and ceftriaxone.”

There are steps you can take to reduce the chance of your child contracting a salmonella infection.

Always have children wash hands with warm, soapy water after handling:

  • chickens
  • There are animals like reptiles.
  • The salamanders.
  • There are rodents.

Try to keep your child away from animals.

Since Salmonella often spreads in the kitchen, it’s also critical to prepare food safely. Cook meats, poultry, and eggs thoroughly. Wash hands after handling these foods raw.

You should wash your hands thoroughly after diaper changes, using the bathroom, or cleaning pet waste.

If your child has come down with salmonellosis, you have a lot of concerns. Here are some questions that people ask.

How long does pediatric salmonella gastroenteritis last?

Most cases of salmonella are gone in about 4-7 days. Some infections can linger for weeks.

Can pets or backyard chickens spread Salmonella?

Cute as your pet iguana or backyard birds may be, they’re a potential source of salmonella infection. According to the CDC, direct contact with turtles, iguanas, and chickens has been linked to human infection.

Children should wash their hands after playing with animals.

Dogs and cats can also be carriers of Salmonella bacteria. Be sure to keep pet waste away from children and avoid letting your child give kisses to these pets.

When is pediatric salmonella gastroenteritis a medical emergency?

If your child is having a bloody stool or is not able to keep fluids down, you should seek emergency medical care.

Serious signs of dehydration also warrant a visit to the emergency room. These signs include:

  • high There is a high degree of fever.
  • Seizures.
  • It is not possible to urinate.
  • dizziness
  • A rapid pulse.

With time, fluids, and a bit of TLC, most kids will be on the road to recovery from a salmonella infection. If symptoms like There is a lot of diarrhea., stomach ache., and fatigue worsen, though, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician.