Did you know that E. coli is probably on your skin right now? Many forms of these bacteria are harmless, but others could lead to serious illness. For a while, it seemed as though food recalls happened once a week due to the presence of the type of E. coli that could cause an intestinal infection.
Food-borne E. coli outbreaks often result from the enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) bacteria, also referred to as traveler’s diarrhea. A severe enough infection could cause you to suffer from another condition called sepsis, in which your immune system begins attacking your body. As you can imagine, sepsis could easily threaten your life and cause lifelong health issues.
Some information about enterotoxigenic E. coli
These bacteria make toxins in your intestines that stimulate your intestinal walls. The resulting over-production of fluid leads to diarrhea. Unless you travel to countries where you shouldn’t drink the water or eat certain foods not properly prepared, you would more than likely come into contact with these bacteria through the following means:
- Person to person
- Contaminated fresh produce
- Contaminated ground beef
- Raw milk
- Animal and human feces
If you do come into contact with these bacteria, you would experience the following symptoms:
- Severe abdominal cramping
- Bloody or watery diarrhea
Healthy people should see a doctor and may be ill for around one week. If you have a compromised immune system, your condition could become severe. You should seek medical attention right away. If the infection continues to worsen without the proper treatment, you could develop sepsis. Now, you have a completely new set of problems.
What does the aftermath look like?
If you do end up with sepsis as a result of an intestinal E. coli infection, you could end up in the ICU, you could lose a limb and you could suffer lifelong health repercussions. Any time someone suffers from a particularly virulent infection, doctors ought to watch for signs of sepsis as well. If your doctor failed to address your infection and/or sepsis quickly and aggressively, you may have received substandard medical care.
You rely on the medical professionals responsible for your care to do what is necessary to come to the right diagnosis and quickly treat you in order to make you better. After all, they literally have your life in their hands. The damage done when they fail in their duty could prove catastrophic. If a mistake, oversight or other error made by a medical professional forever changed your life, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim. It may be worth your time to find out.