It has made headlines numerous times this year for its part in ruining huge amounts of leafy greens, but E. coli is not all bad. In fact, E. coli exists, naturally, in the human body at all times. It takes up residence in the intestines and causes us no harm whatsoever. The problem is that the body can only tolerate certain strains of E. coli. Those that have been causing widespread recalls and lawsuits are of different strains that those found in humans. They are also capable of causing severe food poisoning.
E. coli enteritis is a condition that can cause common food poisoning symptoms. It is caused by E. coli contamination and can cause the small intestine to become inflamed. This occurs, generally, as a result of accidental consumption of the bacteria. Fortunately, today, we are aware of a number of methods for reducing the chances of such an occurrence. You can lessen the risk of E-coli poisoning by regularly washing your hands (especially when working with food), cleaning cooking utensils after every meal, refrigerating foods that require such care, and avoiding the consumption of raw or undercooked meats and fish. E. coli can also be present on fruit and vegetables, making it very important to clean them thoroughly before eating. Finally, it is highly recommended, especially for those that rely on a well, to have water supplies tested yearly.
Typically, symptoms of E. coli poisoning begin 24 to 72 hours after consumption of the bacteria. The most common complaint is diarrhea, however, many will also suffer from fever, gas, loss of appetite, cramping, and, occasionally, vomiting. Less frequently, people can experience bruising, pale skin, and bloody urine.
In most cases, E. coli poisoning passes without treatment but, if fluids cannot be consumed at a great enough rate to counteract the loss due to diarrhea and vomiting, then IV fluids may be required. Rare strains of E. coli can be more severe, leading to extreme anemia or even kidney failure. Those who are most susceptible include the very young, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune system.
If you believe that you were exposed to E. coli at a public establishment or as a result of a known product contamination, then you should speak to an attorney regarding your rights.