How to beat E. coli?

Escherichia coli is a common bacterium that is normally a harmless resident of our gut. However, it does have the potential to cause serious problems in those with a weakened immune system or in outbreaks of certain more sinister sub-types. There are a number of different sub-types & they each cause a variety of conditions.

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Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by E. coli from contaminated water, or you can get a dysentery-type illness from E. coli in undercooked food. The most important thing is to stay well hydrated by drinking a large amount of fluid, particularly water. If you are able to eat, have bland, stodgy food including toast, white rice & bananas.

If you have bloody diarrhea or you are not passing any water you should contact your doctor urgently. It is also serious if you have severe abdominal cramps, high temperature or any difficulty keeping any fluids down. E. coli can cause a range of conditions, the most common being diarrhea, from which most healthy people make a quick recovery.

However, it can cause more serious illnesses & significant kidney complications. Septicemias or kidney failure from E. coli could lead to a coma, although this is rare. Always wash hands, and ensure food is properly cooked through. Be discerning about where you eat. Drink only boiled or bottled water in hot countries.

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