Because salmonella infection can be dehydrating, replacement of fluids and electrolytes is the focus of treatment. Severe cases may require hospitalization and fluids delivered directly into a vein (intravenous). In addition, your doctor may recommend:
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- Anti-diarrheals. Medications like loperamide (Imodium) can help relieve cramping, but they may also prolong the diarrhea associated with salmonella infection.
- Antibiotics. If your doctor suspects that salmonella bacteria have entered your bloodstream, or if you have a severe case or a compromised immune system, he or she may prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Antibiotics are not of benefit in uncomplicated cases. In fact, antibiotics may prolong the period in which you carry the bacteria and can infect others, and they can increase your risk of relapse.
- Hohmann EL. Approach to the patient with nontyphoidal Salmonella in a stool culture. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 25, 2011.
- Fact sheets: Salmonella questions and answers. Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/salmonella_questions_&_answers/index.asp. Accessed Feb. 2, 2011.
- Salmonellosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/salmonellosis/. Accessed Feb. 2, 2011.
- Pegues DA, et al. Salmonellosis. In: Fauci AS, et al. Harrison's Online. 17th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2894780. Accessed Feb. 3, 2011.
- Meltzer E, et al. Enteric fever: A travel medicine oriented view. Current Opinion in Infectious Disease. 2010;23:432.
- Diarrhoea and vomiting caused by gastroenteritis: Diagnosis, assessment and management in children younger than 5 years. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=14445&search=dehydration. Accessed Feb. 2, 2011.
- Salmonella infections. The Merck Manuals: Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/sec14/ch173/ch173p.html. Accessed Feb. 8, 2011.