We have all heard stories about the infamous “Montezuma’s so called revenge.” And we all know that this is a humorous way to refer to a nasty case of diarrhea that travelers sometimes contact while in Mexico.
Well, guess what, “Montezuma’s revenge” doesn’t just happen across the border, we have our own little out breaks of this nasty bug right in the good old USA! E coli poisoning, which causes this ugly intestinal “bug,” can happen anywhere and in any country.
Call the symptoms what you want-the Johnny trots, the runs, a stomach bug, a bad case of intestinal problems…they all amount to the same thing –Diarrhea often caused by the infamous E coli bacterium. This illness is nothing to laugh at either as it can be life threatening!
E-Coli: Friend or Foe?
Our bodies are teeming with millions of bacteria and the E coli bacterium is one of them. Residing happily in our intestines, the E coli bacteria and thousands of other forms of micro organisms help keep us healthy! Helping in the digestion of food is one of their important functions. Mr. E coli, in this instance, is our friend. However, the E coli bacterium comes in many forms and some strains can give you a nasty case of diarrhea. The good news is this. Most of the time this “little stomach problem” as we politely call it, will last only a day or two. However, some forms can be highly dangerous.
The Bad One: E-Coli 0157:H7
Make no mistake about it, the E coli germ labeled 0157 is our enemy and to be avoided at all cost. When infected with this particular strain of E coli, the symptoms are dramatic and can even lead to death. The toxins released by this germ can shut down your kidneys, cause intestinal bleeding, and literally drain the body of necessary fluids sapping the life right out of you. That’s why people suffering from an attack of E coli 0157 are given plenty of liquids. Children and people with medical problems are most at risk with this illness.
E-Coli Can Be Anywhere
You have heard the expression, “Don’t drink the water!” That’s because contaminated water is often the cause of E coli poisoning. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get infected by E coli in other ways. In fact, this is one good reason for washing your hands periodically through the day. Any surface that you touch could possibly be contaminated with this microbe.
Day Car Centers and Pre-Schools Beware!
Handwashing in day care centers and pre-schools is the first line of defense for youngsters. Intestinal bugs can spread from child to child with amazing quickness. That’s why its imperative for such places to place a high priority on the teaching of handwashing techniques.
Avoid E-Coli by Scrubbing Up!
No, it doesn’t mean that you have a deep seated psychological problem if you wash your hands more often than other people. (This is often the case in grade B movies!) It simply means that you know that handwashing is good for your health!
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