Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacterium present in the intestines of both animals and humans. Generally, the bacterium is relatively harmless and aids with the digestion of food. Nevertheless, certain strains of E. coli can trigger infection and symptoms such as diarrhea.
An Escherichia coli infection can affect anyone who is exposed to the bacteria. Those who are at highest risk include the elderly, young children and those who have compromised immune systems.
What are the signs?
An individual with Escherichia coli infection can experience the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Appetite loss
- Diarrhea and blood-streaked stools
- Extreme fatigue
- Discolored urine
These symptoms might last from 5-10 days.
The ideal way to manage an Escherichia coli infection is to increase the intake of fluids to avoid dehydration and getting enough rest as much as possible. Remember that antibiotics are not given for the infection since they can worsen the condition.
Additionally, any drugs that can stop the diarrhea must not be taken since it can keep the E. coli bacteria within the body.
When to consult a doctor?
A doctor should be seen if an E. coli infection is suspected and the individual could not hold down any fluids, there is blood-streak diarrhea or urine or there are continuous symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or lightheadedness.