Travel Health - Dealing with Travelers' Diarrhea Caused by E Coli Bacteria

Guide to Common Travel Health Problems. - Travelers Diarrhea



Guide to Common Travel Health Problems - Travelers' Diarrhea

Caused by The Bacteria : Escherichia coli (E Coli)

diarrhea medications and electrolyte diarrhea remedies

The effects of Diarrhea (alternative spelling: diarrhoea) can last for days or weeks, causing
dehydration and lethargy. Bacteria are a common cause of diarrhea, although viruses
and parasites such as the ones that cause amoebic dysentery, can also be the cause.
Diarrhea is usually passed along by contaminated water or by unsanitary food preparation.

Common Bacterial Causes of DiarrheaDiarrhea Medications and Remedies
Escherichia coli (E.coli) : See Below Oral rehydration electrolyte salt formulas
Shigellosis (Bacillary Dysentery) Shigellosis  
Campylobacter jejuni Antibiotics
Salmonella Anti Diarrhea Medications


Escherichia coli O157:H7 and other strains of E Coli - Overview

E. coli enteritis is an inflammation of the small intestine caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli)
bacteria. E. coli enteritis is a type of bacterial gastroenteritis. The symptoms are a result of
toxins or bacterial invasion into the intestine. The incubation period (the time it takes for the
germ to cause illness) is 24 - 72 hours. Different strains of E Coli account for most cases of
routine traveler's diarrhea. There are hundreds of strains of E. coli, most of which are harmless
(such as the varieties living in the intestines of healthy people) others cause mild to severe
cases of diarrhea and other symptoms (see below). The more serious E. coli O157:H7 can live
in the intestines of healthy cattle, but causes severe illness or even death in humans.
Ground beef from slaughtered infected cattle may carry E. coli O157:H7, as can raw milk if the
cow's udders or milking equipment are contaminated. Other food contaminations can occur as
a result of contaminated water or soil, or from unsanitary food-handling processes.

Symptoms of E.coli

Symptoms can begin anytime from 12 hours to 5 days, they include diarrhea progressing to
bloody diarrhea abdominal cramps, nausea and bloating. In infants, children and the elderly the
illness can progress to cause kidney failure.

Likely Contaminated Food Sources

The food sources most likely to be contaminated include raw or undercooked ground beef,
contaminated and un-chlorinated drinking water, raw fruits and vegetables (especially lettuce),
salami, raw or un-pasteurized milk, and un-pasteurized apple cider or orange juice.

Protect Yourself From Diarrhea Caused by E Coli

Cook all ground beef until there is no hint of pink left in the meat. The inside of a hamburger
should be hot and the color gray or brown. Eat and drink only pasteurized milk and milk
products. When traveling abroad, especially in 3rd world countries, do not drink potentially
contaminated water (including ice cubes) that could be is contaminated with E.coli, or eat fruits
and vegetables washed in tap water. Wash hands with soap thoroughly before eating or
handling food. Hand-washing also helps to avoid the spread of infection.

Treatment of E.coli

There is no direct treatment for diarrhea caused by E Coli other than rehydration with electrolyte
solutions if dehydration from diarrhea occurs. For example oral rehydration salt formulas and
electrolytes with carbohydrates. People with diarrhea (especially young children) who are
unable to take oral fluids because of nausea may need medical attention and intravenous fluids.
for example sodium chloride and potassium chloride solutions.
Additionally, people taking diuretics need to be cautious with diarrhea, and may need to stop
taking the diuretic during the acute episode or as directed by their health care provider.
Avoiding dairy products is recommended as they may make the diarrhea worse due to the
temporary lactose intolerance that can arise.
Most people recover from infection within 3 to 10 days and anti diarrhea medications, such as
loperamide (Imodium), and Lomotil (atropine and diphenoxylate) should be avoided.
Antidiarrheal drugs may delay the elimination of the germs from the digestive tract, and therefore may not be recommended.




Other Travel Health Topics


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How to Deal with Jet Lag, Blood Clots and Motion Sickness

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