The human body is the most attractive shelter for a broad range of bacteria, both good and bad. They are comfortably settling down under the fingernails, lurking in the hairline, creeping on the skin, slipping in between the teeth, to say nothing of our internal cavities. Our guts provide bacteria with a perfect environment for cultivating in entire colonies. Pathogens find there the necessary warmth, moisture, protection, darkness, and nutrition for using all our resources to make us sick. One of those regular utilizes, who enjoys five-star conditions of our intestines to live and thrive inside, is Escherichia coli (E. coli).
What is the E. coli infection and what it does to us?
- Coli is a type of bacteria that inhabit the human and animals’ intestines. In normal conditions, these bacteria can co-exist with a host body until the moment of possible overgrowth. Also, an individual can catch various types of E. coli, some of them are harmless, while others are causing infection. For example, E. coli O157: H7 has pathogenic nature and produces toxins, namely Shiga toxin that provokes illnesses and abnormal conditions such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and fever. More severe cases include dehydration, anemia, urinary tract infections, bloody diarrhea, and kidney failure. Such life-threatening symptoms may occur in immunocompromised individuals, such as pregnant women, children, people with allergies or other chronic conditions.
How and where you can catch the E. coli infection?
People, as well as animals, are permanent carriers of the different bacteria, including E. coli, which form the intestinal bacterial environment. Nevertheless, the harmful type of E. coli pathogens can captivate human body through several ways by entering with contaminated food and water or via personal contact.
Improper food handling and cooking lead to the E. coli infection. If you touch infected meat and do not wash hands after cooking, you can transmit the bacteria into your mouth easily. If you do not cook the infected meat up to 160°F, the bacteria could survive and enter your body either. Other ways to invite the E. coli pathogen inside include:
- drinking unpasteurized milk and homemade dairy products
- failing to wash hands before and after preparing or eating food
- eating raw fruits, vegetables, and seafood products
- using of serving dishes, cutting boards, and kitchen utensils that are not thoroughly clean
- using of expired products that stayed too long in the household
- eating products that are not properly washed
- improperly processed food, especially meats of cattle and poultry
Danger of bacteria
Contaminated water carries a lot of living microorganisms that could harm people. A lack of sanitation or absence of chlorine treatment leads to the possibility of obtaining E. coli pathogens inside your body. Sometimes, human or animal feces could get into lakes, swimming pools, irrigation canal or water supplies. As a result, people can swallow or grab a bunch of bacteria while swimming, drinking or washing products into contaminated water.
- coli pathogen can utilize person-to-person channel through the touch or other contacts with an infected person who did not wash hands after having a bowel movement. Also, bacteria can spread with a mutual touch to the object, food, and clothes. The same would apply to the contact with the infected animals if a person did not wash hands regularly and thoroughly after touching or working in the same environment with them.
Initially alerting symptoms of the E. coli infection
The earliest common symptoms of the E. coli infection can occur during the first five days after you have become a carrier. Symptoms could last for a few days or weeks occasionally and appear as follows:
- spontaneous watery diarrhea
- loss of appetite
- abdominal cramping
- nausea and vomiting
- weight swings
- food sensitivity
In the case, if the immune system sends a proper response, the symptoms may gradually disappear at home conditions. If symptoms do not recede, you should consider seeing a nutritional specialist around your area to receive a suitable protocol of actions to confront the disease.
Severe symptoms of the E. coli infection
If the E. coli infection is ignored, and the bacteria have colonized a large part of the intestine, the disease can gain alarming proportions and may even become a matter of vitality. At this stage, professional assistance in treatment is inevitable. The more severe symptoms include:
- bloody diarrhea
- decreased output and bloody urine
- pale skin
- hemolytic uremic syndrome
- kidney failure
- loss of consciousness
- failure to take food
If you experience anything of the above, then the first thing you need is to get tested. Chen Ben Asher Wellness Clinic offers a wide range of tests to indicate E. coli presence for building a proper counter-strategy in an address of the progressing infection. The most relevant tests include the Comprehensive Stool Analysis, Food Sensitivity Delayed Test, DNA Analysis, and Organic Acid Test.
There are many ways to protect yourself from getting E. coli pathogens inside the body. Among them, the most effective one is to develop an intelligent behavior in operating with food. First of all, you should wash products before cooking or eating. Secondly, you should try to exclude raw milk and other unverified dairy products from the diet. When processing meat, do not forget that in your kitchen you are the main gourmet chef, who adhere to all standards of cooking, both temperature and time of roasting. Also, you should use only clean dishes, pans, knives, cutting boards, and other tableware. Yet, personal hygiene has not been canceled at all, so clean hands are a hefty bail for reduction E. coli risk as well. Watch your health, and your body will thank you with grandiose vigor.
E.coli (Escherichia coli). Accessed from: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html
Diseases and Conditions: E. coli. Accessed from: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html
Coli Infection. Accessed from: http://www.healthline.com/health/e-coli-infection?s_con_rec=true&r=1#Overview1