What is E.coli?
E.coli is a rod-shaped bacterium that is found in your lower intestines, it helps your body digest the food you eat. Majority of E.coli are harmless but some strands can be very dangerous. One of the most common types of dangerous E.coli is the O157:H7 strand.
How E.coli makes us sick
E.coli causes illness by disrupting the normal functions of the intestines. It causes the cells in the intestines to absorb or release water into the intestine. In some cases E.coli can damage small vessel cells that line the intestines resulting in bloody diarrhea.
Symptoms of E.coli
The main symptoms or E.coli poisoning are: nausea, stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and high fever.
Majority of people who are infected with E.coli resolve the infection without antibiotics in about five to seven days. However, some people (especially under the age of 5) develop more severe symptoms, and need to be hospitalized and get treatment. These patients develop the usual symptoms listed above, but do not resolve the infection. The develop symptoms that last longer and if not treated seriously, the infection can lead to disability or death.
How you can prevent E.coli
Some ways you can prevent yourself from getting harmful strands of E.coli in your system are to: always keep your hands clean, store food and drinks properly, never cross contaminate meat with other foods, cook all meat thoroughly and do not drink from rivers, lakes, streams, or untreated wells.
Benefits of E.coli
There are a numerous amount of micro-organisms that live in our intestines helping us digest the food we eat. These micro-organisms break down some of the compounds in our food, as this happens they release nutrients such as vitamin K and vitamin B12. In addition to that the micro-organisms protect us by keeping our guts clean to prevent harmful organisms from growing.
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