An E. coli infection occurs when certain strains of E. coli bacteria enter the digestive tract. This is a very serious and potentially deadly infection and should be treated under the supervision of a physician. Most commonly, E. coli infections happen as a result of eating infected meat that has not been cooked properly. It can also occur after eating raw dairy products, fruits, and vegetables that have been contaminated. E. coli can spread from person to person or be transmitted via water supply, so it is important to take proper precautions if you have been infected. If you notice any symptoms of E. coli, see your doctor right away.
Although not everyone experiences symptoms, one of the most common complaints are stomach cramps. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and naproxen can help to dull the pain. This symptom typically appears about 72 hours after eating the contaminated food, which can make it difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused your illness. If you have cramps caused by E. coli, using the bathroom may help to relieve some of the pain temporarily, but they are likely to return. This can make eating or drinking difficult, but it is important to stay hydrated during the infection.
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