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The Year of Salmonella November 14, 2008

Image courtesy of Google

Last year Jeremy contracted Salmonella poisoning. It happened shortly after we returned from our trip to Arizona to say goodbye to my ailing Grandmother. He got dreadfully ill one weekend — fevers pushing 104+ and Motrin would only bring it down to 100 for a few hours and then right back up it went. I remember in one day alone he had 16 diarrhea diapers. The next day he had 14 of them. He wouldn’t eat. Thank God he would drink water and lots of it. I called his doctor’s office several times and as I waited for them to return my calls I would start to get ready to head to the ER telling my husband “be ready because I might have to run out the door at any minute”. Weekend on-call doctors can only ask a bunch of questions. They can’t do a proper diagnosis on the phone. But the one that called me back on Sunday came close. She mentioned Salmonella a couple of times, but I quickly ignored it since Jeremy was the only one sick.

The following Monday, early, we took him to his regular pediatrician along with a sample of poop. Yuck. It sure was Salmonella. It sure was. We had to continue monitoring and testing his doo-doo for weeks. Finally it came back negative almost a month later.

A nurse friend of mine called me to ask a million few questions. We came to the conclusion he got it from touching egg shells at the grocery store. I had taken him shopping with me and when he asked if he could touch the eggs I thought nothing of it. I let him and even counted them with him one by one. Less than 36 hours later the boy was extremely ill — more so than when he had jaundice as an infant.

The health department called me sometime in December to ask me a thousand few more questions. It was then that I learned that Jeremy would be contagious for a year. So for a year I wouldn’t let anyone change his diapers unless they were well aware of his infection and once he was potty trained it became very important that he, as well as anyone helping him wipe, washed their hands thoroughly. Reinfection of Salmonella is common since kids aren’t the cleanest things in the universe.

Well it’s been a year. He suffered no reinfection. Nobody in our household or circle of family and friends contracted the virus from him. We are in the clear!!

What a battle.

Don’t let your kids play with eggs, egg cartons, or touch raw meat or raw meat packaging. Be very very cautious as you cook or prepare food in the kitchen being sure to clean and sanitize all surfaces (including you) that come in conact with anything of that sort. It’s not worth an entire year of careful analysis of every bowel movement your child has or being inches from rushing him/her to the ER.

Another friend told me that organic eggs are the biggest culprit for Salmonella. And wouldn’t you know it — those are the kind of eggs I used to buy when Jeremy fell ill. Not anymore. Now we buy the safe eggs. The ones that say they’re free of Salmonella.


3 Responses to “The Year of Salmonella”

  1. Lorna Says:

    Oh my gosh, I never knew that Salmonella could be passed on for up to a year. What an ordeal. Poor little guy. And thank you for the useful information. 🙂

  2. Who knew about the eggs? I did not know that was possible!

    Thanks for the info…no counting eggs for Evan…

  3. Will_nottheactor Says:

    Curious where they heard that organics were more likely carriers? I just did a quick Google of “salmonella organic eggs” and this was the fourth hit of many that show a risk of roughly 1/30,000 eggs, and it’s even lower in organic eggs.

    This is just one of the reasons why you’re supposed to fully cook anything with eggs in it, as well as all meat. But I thought it was only carried IN the egg, not on the shell, too.

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