Symptoms of E Coli Infection
There are many variants of the E Coli bacteria, some of which are harmless, and symptoms of the infection can present themselves in many different forms. Having said that, here are some E Coli symptoms that are most commonly observed:
- The first and most prominent symptoms of an E Coli infection are abdominal pain and cramping in the abdominal region. This can be particularly alarming if these abdominal aches arise suddenly and lead to severe, lasting pain or tenderness in the stomach.
- E Coli infections can also lead to the severe formation of gas in the stomach leading to excessive flatulence.
- These E Coli symptoms can also be accompanied by other discomforting symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite in certain people. There can also be signs of pale skin, excessive fatigue, and dehydration as the body loses its essential fluids and electrolytes.
- Some E Coli infections can also result in a fever and high body temperature.
- One of the most severe E Coli symptoms is the experiencing of watery diarrhea, often followed by bloody stools. If the person happens to have E Coli in their urine, they might be passing bloody urine as well.
- It is important to note that while most E Coli infections take place in the form of food poisoning, the bacteria can also affect the human body in other ways. This includes E Coli UTI (urinary tract infection) and even pneumonia.
E Coli - Causes and Ways of Transmission
As mentioned before, some strains of E Coli are not harmful and do not cause any adverse reactions to the human body. However, there are other strains that release harmful toxins and can thereby cause E Coli infection and experiencing the aforementioned symptoms. Therefore, it is important to be aware of how the bacteria can be spread. Here are a few ways:
1. Eating Contaminated Food:
You can develop an E Coli infection by swallowing food that has been contaminated with harmful strains of the E Coli bacteria. This can happen when the food has not been properly handled during its cooking or processing. It can also happen if the people cooking the food have not followed proper hygiene protocols such as the washing of hands and storing foods in sanitary conditions.
2. Drinking Contaminated Water
Similarly, you can develop an E Coli infection by consuming water that has been contaminated by the bacteria. This can be due to contamination in the municipal water supplies or an improper treatment process of drinking water. You can even develop an E Coli infection simply by swimming in a pool or water body that has been contaminated by the bacteria.
3. Person to Person
The E Coli bacteria may not originate from the human body, but it can spread from an infected person to a healthy person through direct contact. If the infected person has not followed proper hygiene, such as washing and sanitising their hands, they can spread the bacteria through handshakes and other forms of contact. This is why children, and professionals who work with them such as teachers, are some of the most at-risk groups to catch an E Coli infection.
4. Contact with Animals
Since the E Coli bacteria can survive in a variety of life forms, you can catch an infection not only through direct contact with other humans but with animals as well.
Diagnosis and Treatments of E Coli Infection
Unless the symptoms are very severe, it might be hard to distinguish E Coli infections from a regular food poisoning episode without consulting a professional physician. That is why it is important to get professional consultation as soon as possible and explain your symptoms in detail to your general physician. Having said that, the only method of ascertaining whether you have an E Coli infection is to send a stool sample to a diagnostic lab for analysis.
2. Treatment for Mild E Coli Infection:
In most cases, the E Coli infection goes away and resolves on its own and all that is prescribed is plenty of rest and regular consumption of fluids. In other cases, the doctor might prescribe certain antibiotics as a part of your E Coli treatment.
3. Treatment for Complicated E Coli Infection:
In more severe cases, the E Coli infection might lead to symptoms such as bloody diarrhea and damage to the intestines. In such cases, your doctor might choose not to prescribe antibiotics as they can lead to the worsening of such symptoms. If you have experienced severe dehydration as a result of the infection, your doctor might recommend an E Coli treatment of hospitalisation and administering IV fluids to replenish lost fluids.
Home Remedies For E Coli Infection
E coli infections are more severe than most common infections and require medical intervention as quickly as possible. However, after you have sought the proper treatment and the medications have been prescribed, you will be required to recover at home. Here are the home recovery methods to follow as you recover from E coli infections:
1. Drink water and other fluids:
In order to allow your body to flush out the infection causing viruses, it is important to drink plenty of water and other fluids such as juice and green tea.
2. Stay away from certain types of foods:
Your symptoms can get worse by consuming certain types of foods such as dairy products, fatty foods, spicy foods, and foods that have a high fiber content.
3. Choose meals carefully:
When you do feel better enough to start eating again, choose foods that have a low-fiber content, such as eggs and rice. Also, make sure that the food is mild or lightly seasoned.
How to Prevent E Coli Infections
Given how easy it is for E Coli infections to spread, simply following a few simple health and hygiene guidelines can go a long way in reducing your chances of contracting the disease. Here are a few of them:
1. Hand Hygiene:
Following good hand hygiene practices, especially after passing a bowel movement, before eating or preparing a meal, after handling raw meat, and making contact with an animal including your pets.
2. Clean Food Items:
Washing your food items, such as fruits, vegetables, and meats, thoroughly before consuming or cooking them.
3. Storage of Meat:
It is particularly important to store raw meat separately from other food items and utensils in order to avoid any chances of contamination.
4. Regular Washing of Cutlery:
Making sure that all kitchen utensils and cutlery are washed regularly and properly.
5. Choosing the Right Type of Milk:
Drinking only pasteurized milk, and avoiding unpasteurized ie. raw milk entirely, can help prevent chances of contracting E Coli infections.
E Coli symptoms and infections can occur in a variety of ways and cause different reactions for different people. While you can certainly seek simple treatments for mild E Coli infections, it is best to follow prevention methods and have other ways of being prepared for any severe infections or other medical eventuality. To that end, consider purchasing a reliable health insurance plan for yourself as well as your loved ones to ensure that you are protected for a wide variety of medical events.