E. Coli Treatment
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About E coli
E. coli is an infection caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli. Escherichia coli bacteria lives in the intestines of healthy people and animals and are usually harmless. However, several strains of the E. coli bacteria can release a damaging toxin - known as the Shiga toxin - which damages the lining of your intestines. This leads to the symptoms we associate with cases of an E. coli infection.
- Diarrhea (which can often be bloody)
- Stomach pain and cramping
- Abdominal tenderness
The symptoms of E. coli generally last for 5-7 days.
Damaging strains of E. coli usually enter the body through contaminated food, water, or human contact.
- Common foods that carry infectious E. coli bacteria include:
- Ground beef
- Unpasteurized milk
- Fresh, unwashed produce
- Soft cheeses
- Unpasteurized fruit juices
Water may be contaminated with damaging strains of E. coli if it has not been disinfected. The bacteria can live in lakes, streams, private wells, and swimming pools. While it is rare, municipal water supplies have caused E. coli outbreaks every now and then.
Fecal matter (even the invisible particles of fecal matter) can live on the hands and find its way into the body. If you do not wash your hands completely after a bowel movement, or changing a diaper, you may carry damaging E. coli bacteria on your hands. If this bacteria gets into your body, it can lead to an E. coli infection.
Most people are able to recover fully from an E. coli infection within 5-7 days. During that time, it is important that you rest and take in plenty of fluids.
Below is a list of treatment methods meant to relieve the symptoms of an E. coli infection. During your appointment, talk to your provider about tips to prevent the spread of the disease and how best to manage your symptoms.