Natural Home Remedies for E. Coli Infections

Escherichia Coli is a bacterium commonly found in the intestines (humans and other animals).

Image of microscopic view of e. coli bacteria

Normally it causes no harm but some strains can cause severe reactions, especially in the very old and very young. Sometimes, meat is tainted with the bacteria when the flesh comes in contact with the contents of the intestines during slaughter.

Severe cases can lead to kidney failure. Mild cases can be treated at home and symptoms may last from a few days to more than a week.  E. Coli can spread when an infected person doesn’t wash their hands after defecating.  The bacteria are then spread when they touch someone or something else, like food.  People who work with animals (especially farm animals) are at increased risk.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Some or all may be present:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody urine or decreased urine output
  • Bruising
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Gas
  • Liquids won’t stay down
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale skin
  • Pus or blood in your stool
  • Vomiting

PREVALENCE

The CDC estimates 73,000 illnesses in the U.S. every year.

IS IT CONTAGIOUS?

It depends on the strain and some are contagious. Avoid touching things that an infected person has touched. It is usually spread by inadequate hand-washing after having a bowel movement.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

Presence of the infection can be confirmed with a stool test. If you have a serious infection, you may be hospitalized and given care that could include IV fluids, transfusions and even kidney dialysis.

SELF TREATMENT

Most people improve within 6-7 days after contamination and recover fully. Some of the suggestions below may help you recover more quickly or be more comfortable.

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and infections. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.

FOODS THAT PROMOTE HEALING

While you are ill:

  • Bone broth
  • BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast)
  • Clear soups and broths
  • Gelatin

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Dairy products
  • Fatty foods
  • High-fiber foods
  • Raw vegetables
  • Smoking
  • Spicy foods

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Birch tea
  • Clear liquids
  • Cranberry juice
  • Drink plenty of pure water

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Aloe Vera
  • Black elderberry
  • Cloves
  • Echinacea for short-term use
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Sage
  • Thyme and oregano oil cleanse
  • Turmeric

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, mixed with a carrier oil (i.e. coconut, almond) and used topically, or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath.

  • Bergamot
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Clove
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender plus cinnamon
  • Lemongrass
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • Colloidal silver
  • DMSO
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • Star fruit extract (for certain strains of E. Coli)

HYDRATION

This is one of those “drink plenty of fluids and get rest” conditions. Hydration is especially important if you have diarrhea. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

While you are ill, you should rest but once you are mended, remember that exercise is one of the ways we can strengthen our immune systems. That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health and delays healing. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

  • Anti-diarrheal medications may increase your risk of developing HUS (hemolytic-uremic syndrome).
  • Antibiotics treatment for E. coli can triple your risk of developing a blood disease (HUS).
  • Clean cutting boards you use for meat carefully, and don’t use the same cutting board for vegetables and fruits. Clean the board with hot soapy water, disinfect with bleach and rinse. The safest boards may be made of Richlite; lightweight, durable wood-fiber composites that don’t harbor bacteria.

Call your doctor if you have the following symptoms:

  • Fever with diarrhea
  • Diarrhea that isn’t improving after 4 days for an adult and 2 days for a child.
  • Pus or blood in your stool
  • Liquids won’t stay down
  • Vomiting for more than 12 hours
  • You have recently traveled to a foreign country.
  • Serious dehydration (no urine, dizziness)

PREVENTION

  • A wholesome, balanced diet
  • Quality sleep
  • Regular exercise
  • Low stress levels
  • Avoid raw seafood.
  • Be aware that sprouts sometimes have this bacteria present.
  • Beware of public pools’ cleaning practices.
  • Defrost meat in the refrigerator.
  • Don’t eat dairy products that have been unrefrigerated for long
  • Don’t leave cooked food out any longer than necessary.
  • Don’t prepare food if you have diarrhea.
  • Drink from a safe water supply that cannot have been contaminated by animal feces.
  • If you hang out with someone with the infection, be sure THEY wash their hands after using the toilet.
  • If you work around animals, wash diligently afterward.
  • Properly cook meat and poultry.
  • Take special care with washing during and after visits to schools, childcare facilities and nursing homes.
  • Use only very clean cutting boards, utensils, serving dishes.
  • Wash produce, including hard-skinned fruits like cantaloupe.  If there’s contamination on the outside, it can spread to the flesh during cutting.

 

 

 

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