In May 2018, approximately 197 people were infected with a dangerous outbreak strain of the parasite E. coli O157: H7. Cases were reported in about 35 states. Many people know what E. Coli is or what it does, but not the signs and symptoms of an infection.
Follow our guide, and you’ll learn the signs and symptoms of an E. Coli infection.
What Is E. Coli?
You may be wondering, ‘what is E. coli?’ and ‘how do you get E.coli?’
Very few people know what E. coli is and what it does. So you can understand the signs and symptoms of an E. coli infection, you should understand what E. coli is.
E. coli is the abbreviated name for the scientific term Escherichia coli. Most people have heard of E. coli, and they’ve seen food recalls on the news about this bacteria.
For the most part, E. coli are harmless and live inside human and animal intestines. However, they’re an important part of our intestinal system.
Some strains of E. coli are pathogenic, which means they carry bad bacteria.
How Do You Get E. Coli?
Humans can contract E. coli by coming into contact with infected fecal matter. E. coli can also get into food or drinking water and cause illness.
Animals and humans contract E. coli through contaminated food or water. Foods to watch out for are:
- Raw meats
- Raw milk
- Contaminated, raw vegetables
E. coli outbreaks are often caused by contaminated romaine lettuce and undercooked meat. However, you can also contract E. coli from food that isn’t correctly prepared.
Signs and Symptoms
While not every strain of E. coli makes humans and animals sick, there are a few strains that will. Some strains produce a toxin called Shiga.
The following symptoms can last up to a week or more:
- Sudden or severe diarrhea
Early signs of an E. coli infection occur about three to four days after contamination. Some of the signs and symptoms are general, like malaise and loss of appetite:
These signs and symptoms can affect both children and adults.
E. coli infection is serious and, in some cases, life-threatening. This site gives you more information about E. coli and the science behind the infection.
How Long Does It Last?
An E. coli infection can last anywhere from a week or more, usually 5 to 10 days. If you have a severe strain of E. coli, a doctor might prescribe antibiotics to kill the infection.
If your child catches E. coli, don’t give them antidiarrheal medicine unless a medical professional tells you to. Instead, make sure infected children stay hydrated.
Severe E. coli infection can last longer in children than in adults. So, it may take several weeks for your child’s body to recover.
When to Contact Your Doctor?
If you’re feeling sick, take a look at what you’ve been eating. Are there any recalled or suspicious foods or drinks you’ve digested? If you answered yes and think you’ve been infected by E.coli, contact a medical professional right away.
For more articles and information about E. coli and its infectious strains, visit our website today.