Salmonella Gastroenteritis, Adult

Salmonella gastroenteritis is an infection that is caused by bacteria.


Salmonella gastroenteritis usually occurs after eating meat, eggs, dairy products, or poultry that is contaminated with the bacteria.


Typical symptoms of this infection include:

  • Diarrhea.

  • Belly (abdominal) cramps.

  • Fever.

  • Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea) and occasional vomiting.

Symptoms of salmonella gastroenteritis usually start 6 to 48 hours after eating the infected food. This is usually mild and lasts 1 to 7 days.


Antibiotic medicines usually will not shorten the course of the illness or improve symptoms. Antibiotics are occasionally prescribed for severe infections in older adults, adults with immune diseases such as AIDS, or adults on chemotherapy. Home treatment is all that is usually required for symptom resolution.


To prevent future infections with these bacteria:

  • Handle meat, eggs, dairy products, and poultry properly.

  • Wash hands and counters thoroughly after handling or preparing meat, eggs, dairy products, and poultry.

  • Always cook meat, eggs, dairy products, and poultry thoroughly.


  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • If you have an appetite, eat a normal diet unless your caregiver tells you differently.

  • Eat a variety of complex carbohydrates (rice, wheat, potatoes, bread), lean meats, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Avoid high-fat foods because they are more difficult to digest.

  • If you do not have an appetite, do no t force yourself to eat.

  • You need to stay well hydrated. Drink frequently but in small amounts. Drink enough water and fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow. Until your diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting is under control, you should drink clear liquids only. Clear liquids are anything you can see through such as water, broth, or non-caffeinated tea. Avoid:

  • Milk.

  • Fruit juice.

  • Alcohol.

  • Extremely hot or cold fluids.

  • Adults who are older or who have a chronic illness may rapidly become dehydrated if diarrhea continues along with vomiting. Therefore, medicine may be taken to control the nausea if present, either in an oral or a suppository form.

  • If you are dehydrated, ask your caregiver for specific rehydration instructions. Signs of dehydration may include:

  • Severe thirst.

  • Dry lips and mouth.

  • Dizziness.

  • Dark urine.

  • Decreasing urine frequency and amount.

  • Confusion.

  • Rapid breathing or pulse.

  • Take your antibiotics as directed. Finish them even if you start to feel better.

  • Anti-diarrheal medicines are not recommended.

  • It is important that you keep all follow-up appointments. Be sure to tell your caregiver if your symptoms continue or return.


  • You are unable to keep fluids down.

  • Vomiting or diarrhea becomes persistent.

  • Abdominal pain develops, increases, or localizes.

  • Diarrhea becomes excessive or contains blood or mucus.

  • You experience excessive weakness, dizziness, fainting, or extreme thirst.

  • You experience significant weight loss. Your caregiver will tell you what loss should concern you or suggest another visit for follow-up.

  • You have a fever.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.