Contributed by: Healthians Team
E.coli, one of many variants of strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli is an emerging cause of foodborne illness. While the majority of strains are safe and survive in the intestines of healthy people and animals, this one creates a potent toxin that can cause serious sickness.
Because it usually causes little or no fever, a person may mistakenly believe that the intestinal bleeds are caused by something else, and the infection may go unnoticed.
In this blog, you’ll find information to help you understand the strain, who is at risk and what symptoms to watch for an effective treatment.
FAQ #1: What is E.coli?
Escherichia coli (E. coli) are a group of bacteria that normally reside in the gastrointestinal tract of healthy people and are a common part of the normal bacterial flora. However, some strains of E.coli can produce serious infections in the digestive tract, urinary tract, or many other parts of the body.
FAQ #2: How do you get E.coli?
You can acquire E. coli infection by:
- Consuming contaminated food (e.g. milk, vegetables)
- Coming into contact with the faeces, or stool, of animals
- Swallowing contaminated water
FAQ #3: What food is E.coli found in?
Foods that have been linked to E. coli include:
- Ready-to-eat salads
- Raw milk
- Raw flour
FAQ #4: Is E.coli a bacteria or a virus?
Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) is a common bacteria that is found in the environment, foods, and lower intestines of warm-blooded organisms.
FAQ #5: Who is at higher risk of contracting E.coli?
While E.coli can make even healthy older children and young adults seriously ill, but some people are more susceptible to the infection. These include:
- Children under 5 years of age
- Adults older than 65
- Pregnant women
- People who travel to certain countries
- People with weakened immune systems
FAQ #6: What are the damaging effects of E.coli on the body?
E.coli bacteria produce a toxin that can harm the small intestine lining. This might result in severe stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea (often with blood in it). People may become dehydrated as a result of these conditions.
FAQ #7: Can E.coli infection raise your blood pressure?
FAQ #8: What foods should you avoid eating if you have E.coli infection?
- Raw and undercooked meat
- Contaminated raw fruits and vegetables
- Untreated water (should be avoided at all times)
- Unpasteurized raw milk
- Raw milk products
FAQ #9: What are the first signs and symptoms of E.coli infection?
Following an incubation period of about 3 to 4 days, a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms appear which may include:
- Mild to severe diarrhoea (can be bloody)
- Painful abdominal or tenderness.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Abdominal pain and cramps
FAQ #10: How soon do the symptoms resolve?
The symptoms usually resolve in five to 10 days and generally. the symptoms abate by increasing water and fluids intake and taking ample rest.
FAQ #11: What sort of infections does E.coli usually cause?
- Digestive tract infection
- Urinary tract infection
- Bladder infection in women
- Infection of the prostate gland
- Gallbladder infection
- Wound infections
- Infections in pressure sores
- Foot infections in people with diabetes
- Meningitis in new-born babies
- Bloodstream infections
FAQ #12: How serious is E-coli infection?
E.coli infections are usually mild and do not pose a severe health risk. Rest and plenty of water help cases resolve on their own. Some strains, however, might result in severe symptoms and even life-threatening consequences.
FAQ #13: What happens if E.coli is left untreated?
If not treated promptly, the infection may lead to complications like:
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome (low blood cell count)
- Hemorrhagic diarrhoea
FAQ #14: What are some of the long-term consequences linked to E.coli?
People who contract E. coli infections are at an increased risk of developing conditions like:
FAQ #15: What diagnostic tests can detect and identify E.coli infection?
- Stool testing
- Culture of samples of blood, stool, sometimes urine, or other infected material
FAQ #16: How is E.coli treated?
- Oral or IV rehydration
FAQ #17: How can E.coli be avoided?
Prevention of E. coli infection involves:
- Avoiding unpasteurized milk
- Avoiding dairy products that are prepared from unpasteurized milk
- Cooking raw meat thoroughly
- Washing hands thoroughly with soap after using the toilet and before preparing food
- Using the handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser after touching animals, and having contact with animals
- Not swallowing water when swimming
FAQ #18: What Ayurvedic herbs are effective in curing E.coli?
Ayurvedic herbs and spices have great potential to inhibit E. coli growth. Some of the most potent herbs are:
- Thyme (Ajwain)
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms of an E. coli infection, particularly stomach pain or prolonged, severe, or bloody diarrhoea, contact your doctor right away.
Following the above-mentioned preventive measures will greatly reduce the chances of contracting E.coli. However, if diagnosed, go for an E.coli diagnostic test immediately for prompt treatment.