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E. Coli Infection From Food or Water

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Home Treatment

Home treatment of infection with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria consists of keeping yourself comfortable and preventing the spread of the bacteria. If you aren't infected, take steps to prevent infection.

If you think that you or someone in your care may be infected with E. coli, contact a doctor immediately. Do not treat diarrhea symptoms with any nonprescription or prescription medicines.

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Home treatment for diarrhea or bloody diarrhea caused by E. coli infection

  • Do not use nonprescription antidiarrheal products if you have bloody or non-bloody diarrhea that you suspect may be caused by E. coli infection. These products include Imodium and Maalox Anti-Diarrheal. Do not take other medicines that you have left over from a previous illness.
  • Take frequent, small sips of water or a rehydration drink to replace lost fluids and help prevent dehydration. Because dehydration can be more dangerous in babies, call your doctor if you think your baby may be dehydrated. Your stomach cannot handle too much fluid at one time. Seek medical care if you develop signs of moderate dehydration, which include:
    • Dry appearance inside the mouth.
    • Eyes that don't tear.
    • Low output of dark brown urine.
    • Lightheadedness.

Especially in children and adults age 65 and older, watch for symptoms of severe blood and kidney problems, such as fever, weakness, pale skin, or passing small amounts of urine. If any of these symptoms develop, see a doctor immediately.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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