E. Coli and Child Health Care

E. coli is a food-borne illness that has been cropping up increasingly frequently in recent years. It should be a concern to anyone who has a child, since this infection is more potent in young children. E. coli is composed of hundreds of different strands of bacteria. Most strands are harmless, but there are some that can be toxic and cause severe illness when consumed by humans.

What Causes An E. Coli Infection in My Child?

E. coli is most commonly spread through bacteria-infected meat that is not cooked thoroughly. It can be found in sprouts, lettuce, salami, unpasteurized milk and juice, and in contaminated water. In addition, it can be spread from a person who has touched a contaminated surface. Hand washing is essential in keeping the bacteria from being spread after contamination.

E. coli Infection Symptoms

E. coli traditionally causes stomach cramps, bloody stool, diarrhea and a slight fever, although sometimes there are no symptoms at all. Most children shed the bacteria through their stools after a couple days.

E. coli Treatment and Diagnosis

E. coli is discovered by testing the child's stool for the bacteria. Most children recover on their own within a couple of days. Studies suggest that antibiotics can cause kidney problems and should be avoided. Antidiarrheals should be avoided as well. Children usually recover completely with no lasting effects.

Is E. coli Contagious? | Managing Your Child's Health

E. coli is not contagious human to human. The real concern is contamination through food preparation. Special care should be taken to cook meat completely, store refrigerated food properly, sanitize surfaces where raw meat has been and clean any raw food thoroughly.

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