Ever feel like letting your child munch on a few grape tomatoes or snack on a fresh carrot before washing them? The convenience might not be worth the risk. Kids, especially those under five and infants not breastfed, face a higher chance of getting salmonella, a nasty gut infection. But don’t worry, there are simple steps to cut down this risk. If you’re worried your little one caught a salmonella bug, our AFC North Carolina team breaks down the symptoms and treatment options below, so keep reading.

How Do Kids Catch Salmonella?

Pinpointing how a child gets salmonella can be tricky. Usually, it spreads through food like animal products and veggies fertilized with animal stuff. In some places, contaminated water is a culprit, but that’s not as common in the U.S. Salmonella might even lurk in processed foods on store shelves.

Your child could get it from undercooked meat or eggs, unwashed fruits or veggies, or being around an animal’s germy space, including their poop. The usual suspects spreading the bacteria are cattle, pigs, birds, and reptiles. To dodge salmonella, make sure animal products are well-cooked and wash your hands often.

Once infected, symptoms can show up in six hours or take more than six days. In the U.S., about 1.4 million people (half of Nevada’s population) get salmonella each year, leading to 26,500 hospital trips. Most cases clear up in a week without meds, confirmed by lab tests.

Symptoms in Kids:

  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Headache

How Can I Help My Child Recover from Salmonella?

Good news! Most cases need no meds. But it’s still contagious for a bit, so take steps to keep it contained. Encourage rest, give bland foods, and keep the water flowing.

Dehydration is a common snag due to diarrhea, so keep an eye on your child, especially if they’re little or have a weaker immune system. Severe cases might need medical help.

When Should I See a Doctor for Salmonella?

See a doctor if:

  • Symptoms last more than a week
  • Your child has bloody poop
  • A high fever (102 degrees or higher) sticks around
  • Your child gets seriously dehydrated

Stop by one of our North Carolina AFC locations if you or your child needs help!