E. coli (Escherichia coli) is the name of a bacterium, or germs, that resides in the gastrointestinal tracts of humans and animals.
There are lots of types of E. coli, and the majority of them are harmless. But some can cause bloody diarrhea. Some pressures of E. coli bacteria might likewise cause severe anemia or kidney failure, which can cause death.
Other strains of E. coli can cause urinary tract infections or other infections.
What Causes an E. Coli Digestive Tract Infection?
You get an E. coli infection by entering into contact with the feces, or stool, of human beings or animals. This can take place when you drink water or eat food that has been contaminated by feces.
E. coli in food
E. coli can get into meat during processing. If the infected meat is not prepared to 160 ° F( 71 ° C ), the bacteria can survive and infect you when you eat the meat. This is the most common method people in the United States become infected with E. coli. Any food that has touched with raw meat can likewise end up being infected.
Other foods that can be infected with E. coli include:
- Raw milk or dairy products. Bacteria can spread out from a cow’s udders to its milk. Check the labels on dairy items to make sure they contain the word “pasteurized.” This indicates the food has actually been heated to destroy bacteria.
- Raw vegetables and fruits, such as lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, or unpasteurized apple cider or other unpasteurized juices that have actually can be found in contact with infected animal feces.
E. coli in water
Human or animal feces infected with E. coli in some cases get into lakes, swimming pools, and water products. Individuals can end up being infected when a contaminated city or town supply of water has actually not been correctly treated with chlorine or when individuals unintentionally swallow polluted water while swimming in a lake, pool, or watering canal.
E. coli from person-to-person contact
The bacteria can also spread out from a single person to another, usually when an infected person does not wash his or her hands well after a defecation. E. coli can spread from an infected individual’s hands to other individuals or to items.
E. Coli Symptoms and Signs
The primary symptoms of an E. coli digestive tract infection are:
- Bloody diarrhea.
- Stomach cramps.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Some individuals do not notice any symptoms. Children are most likely than grownups to have symptoms. Symptoms generally start 3 or 4 days after you come in contact with the E. coli.
The majority of people get better in about a week. They often don’t see a doctor and don’t know that E. coli caused their problems.
When E. coli causes serious problems with the blood or kidneys, symptoms consist of:
- Pale skin
- A fever
- Passing just percentages of urine
How Is an E. Coli Intestinal Tract Infection Identified?
Your doctor might presume that you have an E. coli infection after he or she asks you questions and does a test. Your stool will most likely be checked for E. coli.
E. Coli Infection Treatment
E. coli infection normally goes away on its own. Your primary treatment is to make yourself comfy and drink sips of water. Diarrhea causes the body to lose more water than usual. This can lead to dehydration, which is specifically harmful for infants and older adults. Taking regular, little sips of water will help avoid dehydration.
If you have bloody diarrhea that may be from an E. coli infection, do not take diarrhea medication or antibiotics. These medicines can decrease the digestion procedure, permitting more time for your body to soak up the toxins made by the E. coli. Call your doctor instead.
In some people, E. coli infection causes serious problems with the blood and kidneys. These individuals may require blood transfusions or dialysis. Dialysis is a treatment that helps filter waste items from the blood when the kidneys aren’t working right.
How Do You Avoid an E. Coli Intestinal Tract Infection?
Food and water that are infected with E. coli germs look and smell normal. However there are some things you can do to prevent infection:
- Cook ground beef to a minimum of 160°F (71°C).
- In the kitchen area, clean your hands with hot, soapy water frequently, specifically after you touch raw meat.
- Wash any tools or kitchen area surface areas that have actually touched raw meat.
- Use just pasteurized milk, dairy, and juice items.
- Use just dealt with, or chlorinated, drinking water.
- When you take a trip to countries that might have unsafe drinking water, do not use ice or drink tap water. Prevent raw vegetables and fruits, other than those with skin that you peel yourself.
- Wash your hands often, and always wash them after you use the bathroom or change diapers.