Salmonella is a type of bacteria which is carried in the gut of animals, birds, reptiles, and occasionally humans. It can cause diarrhoea, stomach pain, vomiting and fever.
How do I catch it?
Usually by eating contaminated foods, commonly red and white meats, raw eggs, milk and dairy products. It can also be caught through direct contact with infected animals, birds and humans.
What is the incubation period?
This is the delay between the bacteria entering your body and you becoming unwell.
How do I treat it?
Salmonella normally clears up on its own without treatment. However, if your symptoms persist and you are concerned, see your doctor for advice.
Should I stay away from work or school?
You should stay away fromwork or school until you have had no symptoms for at least 24 hours. You do not need to stay away if you have been in contact with someone who has salmonella if you have no symptoms yourself.
If you are a food handler or working with vulnerable groups, e.g. residents in nursing homes or children in nurseries, you should stay away from work until you have not had any symptoms for at least 2 days. You should also notify your employer and comply with any company rules regarding clearance to return to work.
How can I avoid passing it on?
Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly
- after using the toilet, handling soiled bedding/clothes and changing nappies
- before preparing and eating food
- Ensure that door and toilet handles, taps and loo seats are cleaned regularly
How do I stop it from happening again?
- avoid eating raw eggs. Pregnant women, the elderly, the sick and babies are advised to only consume eggs which have been cooked until the white and yolk are solid.
- always check that poultry is thoroughly cooked so that the juices run clear.
- keep raw and cooked foods separately. Always store cooked foods above raw foods in the refrigerator.
- do not use the same equipment for preparing raw and cooked foods.
Always wash your hands thoroughly:
- before preparing food
- after handling raw foods and before going on to handle cooked foods
- after handling pets and their cages and equipment
Do not use kitchen sinks for washing items such as pet cages or aquariums