Amundsen House of Chaos

Let's face it, when you have a kid who survived a stroke, life is always going to be a little chaotic.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

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E. coli part 2 and medical blog hop

So you think maybe you might have E.coli posioning. You have bloody diarrhea and the stomach cramping. What do you do next. Well don't go get yourself diagnosed with appendicitis and let them remove your appendix. That would be bad. When they take your appendix out they give you an antibiotic just in case it might have ruptured a little. They don't want you to become septic and get an infection after all.

The only problem with that is that when you use an antibiotic it kills all bugs. Not just the bad ones. E.coli is fought by the good bacteria in your stomach. An antibiotic kills them. THat's why when little kids get an antibiotic for an ear infection or something they get diarrhea. It kills all the bugs in their stomach. So you give them a probiotic or some yogurt to get that good acidophilus growing again. So how do you treat E.coli?

Once again for the record this is not medical advice. I am not a doctor. I'm pulling this information from other websites and forming a condensed version. If you think you have E.coli posioning consult your doctor immediately.

Here is what the Center for Disease Control has to say on treating E.coli posioning.

Non-specific supportive therapy, including hydration, is important. Antibiotics should not be used to treat this infection. There is no evidence that treatment with antibiotics is helpful, and taking antibiotics may increase the risk of HUS. Antidiarrheal agents like Imodium® may also increase that risk.

So basically if you have stomach cramping, bloody diarrhea and nausea you should stay hydrated. That's why I took Colby to the emergency room. He was becoming dehydrated. He was sleeping all day and wouldn't drink anything.

The best way to treat E.coli posioning is to never get it. This is what the CDC has to say on that.

1. WASH YOUR HANDS thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food. WASH YOUR HANDS after contact with animals or their environments (at farms, petting zoos, fairs, even your own backyard).
2. COOK meats thoroughly. Ground beef and meat that has been needle-tenderized should be cooked to a temperature of at least 160°F/70˚C. It’s best to use a thermometer, as color is not a very reliable indicator of “doneness.”
3. AVOID raw milk, unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices (like fresh apple cider).
4. AVOID swallowing water when swimming or playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, and backyard “kiddie” pools.
5. PREVENT cross contamination in food preparation areas by thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.

We played in the water that ran through a cow pasture. I don't know if Colby swallowed the water or not. I imagine he probably swallowed some of it. Jahnna and Colby were soaking wet. It was a hot July afternoon. Then they got out and we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So either way it was on our hands and then we ate food. There was no possible way to know the water was contaminated.

I grew up around cows. I have swallowed my fair share of cow manure. Not intentionally of course but when you have a job pushing cows at a sale yard you are going to eventually get some in your mouth. I raised all kinds of animals growing up. I drank sodas that had been cooled in a spring of water that cows drank out of and grazed nearby. Shoot we even put watermelons in the spring so they'd be super cold after we fed the cows. Why didn't I get sick before now? What was the difference? E.coli lives in cattle intestines so theoretically my odds of getting E.coli posioning were much greater when I was younger than now.

I found a fascinating article written by Carl Zimmer on the Scientific American website. It's pretty technical but here's a small part of it.

The kind of research that Lenski is doing is important not just to answer some of the basic questions about life but to answer some important questions about our own health. E. coli and other bacteria can make us sick, and in World War II scientists developed antibiotics to kill them and it seemed like magic bullets. The problem was that the scientists discovered very quickly that E. coli and other bacteria were becoming resistant. They were evolving resistance because the mutants that could resist a little bit were doing better than the susceptible ones and over time, it became more and more resistant.

When I was talking with the CDC here in Utah about Colby and Jahnna, the lady said that she thought the E.coli bacteria of today could roughly be considered to be 100 times more resistant than the E.coli of 20 years ago. She also said that was her unproven opinion and that in reality it was probably much more resistant than that. That is why I never got sick before. It's evolved. I guess that's life. You have to constantly change or die. Maybe that's a bit extreme but it's kind of how I look at things.

I think next Thursday I'll talk a little bit about dystonia and what that involves. Colby's had a pretty rough week from it and we're waiting on the dystonia doctor (neurologist) to call us back about the deep brain stimulation so I suppose it's as good a topic as any.

Here is the MckLinky if you'd like to add your blog post on a medical issue and raise awareness for what ever you are going through.

Here is a link to the newest donation button for Colby's fundraising account. This ebook is for fondue recipes.
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