Escherichia coli (E. coli)
…bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals.
Most varieties of E. coli are harmless or cause relatively brief diarrhea. But a few particularly nasty strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
If you have ever eaten food and become ill, chances are you have acquired the E-coli bacteria and will usually become very ill. The body will immediately begin to react and attempt to dump the bacteria through its innate intelligence out of the system.
How It Is Acquired?
E. coli can come from contaminated water or food — especially raw vegetables and under cooked ground beef. Healthy adults usually recover from infection with E. coli O157:H7 within a week, but young children and older adults have a greater risk of developing a life-threatening form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.
One can get an E. coli infection by coming into contact with the feces, or stool, of humans or animals. This can happen when you drink water or eat food that has been contaminated by feces. E. coli can get into meat during processing. If the infected meat is not cooked to 160 °F (71 °C), the bacteria can survive and infect you when you eat the meat. This is the most common way people in the United States become infected with E. coli. Any food that has been in contact with raw meat can also become infected.
The bacteria can also spread from one person to another, usually when an infected person does not wash his or her hands well after a bowel movement. E. coli can spread from an infected person’s hands to other people or to objects.
Other foods That Can Be Infected with E. coli Include:
- Raw milk or dairy products. Bacteria can spread from a cow’s udders to its milk. Check the labels on dairy products to make sure they contain the word “pasteurized.” This means the food has been heated to destroy bacteria.
- Raw fruits and vegetables, such as lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, or unpasteurized apple cider or other unpasteurized juices that have come in contact with infected animal feces.
- Human or animal feces infected with E. coli sometimes get into lakes, pools, and water supplies. People can become infected when a contaminated city or town water supply has not been properly treated with chlorine or when people accidentally swallow contaminated water while swimming in a lake, pool, or irrigation canal.
Signs and symptoms of E. coli O157:H7
Infection typically begins three or four days after exposure to the bacteria, though you may become ill as soon as one day after to more than a week later. Signs and symptoms include:
- Diarrhea, which may range from mild and watery to severe and bloody
- Abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness
- Nausea and vomiting, in some people
- Infections, other strains of E. coli can cause urinary tract infections or other infections.
Treatments for E-Coli
Antibiotics do not help in the treatment of E-Coli. Some medical researchers believe that these medications can increase the risk of developing HUS [43, 66]. According to most health care studies there is no specific therapy to halt E. coli symptoms. However, activated charcoal* taken as soon as possible after the onset of discomfort can alter the course and relieve the situation and pull out the pathogens. Taking several capsules to many within 30- 60 minutes does seem to help in most cases.
Once E-Coli have been diagnosed it is very important to keep the stomach and intestinal tract healthy, full of good flora (see probiotics) and strong stomach acid balance in the Gut. If the condition does not diminish then other protocols may be necessary to rid the system of the E-coli pathogen. See our evaluation form and parasite test for further information.
* Activated charcoal is type of carbon made from wood, vegetables and other materials. Activated charcoal has a large adsorptive capacity, making it able to bind with unwanted substances and toxins. Charcoal may help to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. It has also been found to help with digestion, bloating and gas, malodorous gas, detoxification, and poisoning.