Salmonella Gastroenteritis, Pediatric

Salmonella gastroenteritis is an infection that is caused by bacteria.

CAUSES

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

SYMPTOMS

Typical symptoms of this infection include:

  • Diarrhea.

  • Abdominal cramps.

  • Fever.

  • Nausea and occasional vomiting.

Symptoms of salmonella gastroenteritis usually start 6 to 48 hours after eating the infected food. These problems are usually mild and last 1 to 7 days.

TREATMENT

Antibiotic medicines usually do not shorten the course of the illness or improve symptoms. Antibiotics are occasionally prescribed for severe infections in infants, children with immune diseases, or children on chemotherapy. Usually, home treatment is all that is needed to improve your child's symptoms.

PREVENTION

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.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Only give over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver. Do not give aspirin to children.

  • Your child should eat normally. However, foods high in sugar should be avoided because this may worsen diarrhea. Large amounts of carbonated soft drinks, juice, gelatin desserts, and other highly sugared drinks should be avoided.

  • If your child does not have an appetite, do not force your child to eat.

  • Your child should continue to drink fluids. Have your child drink small amounts of fluids frequently. Your child should drink enough fluids to keep his or her urine clear or pale yellow.

  • Record fluid intake and urine output. Dry diapers for longer than usual or poor urine output may indicate an excessive loss of body fluids (dehydration). Young children may rapidly become dehydrated if diarrhea continues along with vomiting. Therefore, medicine may be given to control the nausea if present, either in an oral or a suppository form.

  • If your child is 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.

  • Give your child antibiotics as directed. Have your child finish them even if he or she starts to feel better.

  • Antidiarrheal medicines are not recommended for infants and children.

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

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your child is unable to keep fluids down.

  • Your child's vomiting or diarrhea becomes persistent.

  • Your child develops abdominal pain, or the pain increases or localizes.

  • Your child's diarrhea becomes excessive or contains blood or mucus.

  • Your child has excessive weakness, dizziness, fainting, or extreme thirst.

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

  • Your child who is younger than 3 months develops a fever.

  • Your child who is older than 3 months has a fever or persistent symptoms.

  • Your child who is older than 3 months has a fever and symptoms get worse.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

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