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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.

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Cramps

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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Nausea

Another common symptom of an E. coli infection is nausea. Nausea is the queasy feeling that you notice in your stomach and throat when you are not feeling well, and often results in vomiting. When you have an E. coli infection, you may feel generally nauseous at all times. It may also be more intense when you see or smell food, which can cause patients to avoid eating during the infection. To avoid this, try to eat bland food that has little odor, like crackers or rice, until your infection has healed. Small sips of water or ginger ale may help to settle your stomach and reduce nausea.

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Vomiting

Vomiting may occur in serious E. coli infections, but it's important to remember that this is beneficial to you. Throwing up is a natural reaction when the body detects a foreign infection. It is an attempt to ride the body of those bacteria, which have been deposited by the contaminated food. If your infection persists, your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea and anti-vomiting medication. This can help you to eat food and keep it down, preventing you from losing too much weight too quickly. However, you should only use these types of medications with guidance from your physician.

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Diarrhea

One of the most unpleasant symptoms of food poisoning is diarrhea. Loose stools are a common side effect of consuming improperly prepared food. With an E. coli infection, diarrhea may be bloody and extremely severe. When this happens, your body is typically not able to absorb nutrients before the food leaves your system, which can result in malnourishment. In addition, diarrhea can cause dehydration and cramping. If you have this symptom, be sure to eat small bites of food to avoid aggravating your digestive system, and take small sips of water. This will help you to stay nourished and hydrated during the infection.

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Sweating

Those who have experienced E. coli infections often report unusual sweating during the onset of their symptoms. Sweating can occur when a patient has a fever, so be sure you check your temperature if you notice this sign. To stay cool and hydrated, drink as much water as you can without causing vomiting or diarrhea. If you have difficulty drinking, try chewing on ice chips instead. Make sure that you change your clothes and sheets frequently if your sweating is excessive, keeping fabrics dry. You can often treat your fever with acetaminophen, which may help to reduce sweating.

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Fever

As mentioned previously, severe E. coli infections can result in a high fever. If you have a fever that does not seem to be decreasing or is above 102 degrees, you should contact your physician for advice. There are many home remedies for fevers, including taking acetaminophen. A cool shower may help you feel better, but if you are too weak to stand in the shower, you can use cold towels or ice packs to cool down. It is important to keep in mind that if your fever lasts more than two days or is severe, home remedies are no substitute for a medical diagnosis.

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Paleness

People who are suffering from an E. coli infection may appear pale and tired. In part, this paleness occurs because of dehydration. It is vital to stay hydrated and drink as much water as possible. Vomiting and diarrhea can make it difficult to get enough rest, which can also contribute to pale skin. If you have an E. coli infection, you should stay home and sleep as much as possible. Do not try to go to work or go about your daily routine, since you can pass the infection on to other people if you are not careful.

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Dehydration

Dehydration is easily the biggest concern when it comes to E. coli infections. Many of the symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating, can quickly drain your body of fluids. Dehydration can lead to more serious complications, including kidney failure and even death. It is important to take precautions to stay as hydrated as possible. Take small sips of water or eat ice chips if you are unable to drink normally. If you notice that you are having difficulty sweating or that your urine is a dark yellow color, you should seek emergency treatment. A physician will be able to provide you with intravenous fluids to help you to get rehydrated.

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Exhaustion

E. coli infections are not always severe, but if you experience any of these symptoms, it may cause you to feel sluggish and tired. Fatigue is very common among E. coli patients, and you should try to avoid any strenuous activity while you are sick. Instead, get as much rest as possible. Stay in bed, and do not go out in public unless it is necessary. In addition to making your exhaustion worse, you can spread the infection to others if you do not properly sanitize your hands. The best course of action is to stay at home and follow your physician's instructions until you feel better.

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Kidney Failure

While not common, E. coli infections can result in kidney failure in severe cases. This is more likely in people who already have complications with their immune system, such as the elderly, but it can happen to anyone if an E. coli infection is left untreated. If you notice the signs and symptoms of an infection, make an appointment with your physician to find out if antibiotics may be the right course of action. Dehydration can increase the chances of kidney failure, so you should monitor urine output and make sure you are staying hydrated to lower your risk of this serious condition.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.