Enteritis involves inflammation of the intestines. It is typically caused by the Escherichia coli bacteria. The condition is defined by abdominal pain, loose stools, bloating and nausea.
What are the indications?
The symptoms of enteritis generally arise 24-72 hours after exposure to the bacteria. The chief sign is intense, abrupt diarrhea that is often streaked with blood.
Other signs that might be present include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe abdominal cramping
Management of E. coli enteritis
The main issue of concern with enteritis is dehydration due to diarrhea. Increasing the intake of fluids and ensuring proper hydration is vital. If the individual could not keep fluids down due to severe diarrhea or vomiting, hospitalization is necessary for the administration of intravenous fluids.
Most can recover without drugs within 2 days. It is important to drink more fluids and get enough rest.
If the individual is using diuretics, the dosage must be stopped while enteritis is present.
Some of the measures in preventing E. coli enteritis include the following:
- Regularly wash hands especially after using the bathroom, before food preparation or changing soiled diapers.
- All meats must be cooked thoroughly, preferably using a thermometer to check if the food has reached a safe temperature.
- All cooking utensils, cutting boards and knives that are frequently exposed to raw food must be thoroughly washed.
- Vegetables and fruits must be washed especially if eaten raw.
- Avoid oysters and raw fish as well as unpasteurized dairy products and raw juices.
- Do not drink water while swimming or playing in streams, lakes, ponds or swimming pools.
What is the outlook?
The outlook is often based on the seriousness of the infection and if treatment was started right away.
Most can recover from enteritis in just a few days without any lasting effects. In rare instances, a severe infection can lead to hemolytic uremia.