Eggs are one of nature’s most nutritious foods. But eggs can make you sick if you do not handle and cook them properly. That’s because eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.
Salmonella can get on the shells of eggs. This can happen when birds lay the eggs and when eggs touch bird droppings (poop) after being laid. Touching eggs from the grocery store is not a major cause of illness because those eggs are washed before they reach stores.
Salmonella can get inside eggs too. This happens while the egg is forming inside the chicken before the egg makes a shell. Today, a lot fewer egg-laying hens have this problem than during the 1980s and 1990s, so eggs are safer. But some eggs are still contaminated with Salmonella.
*Pasteurized eggs have been heated to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to kill Salmonella.
Most people who get sick from Salmonella have diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually begin 6 hours to 6 days after infection and last 4 to 7 days.
Most people recover without antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics are needed only for patients who are very ill or at risk of becoming very ill. People who have diarrhea should drink extra fluids.
Rarely, Salmonella can spread to the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening infection.
Some groups of people are more likely to get infected and get seriously ill. These groups include children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people who have a weakened immune system because of a health problem or medicine that lowers the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.
Call your doctor if you have:
Call your child’s doctor if your child has: