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Dysentery The Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

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Dysentery is spread among humans through contaminated food and water. Once a person is infected, the infectious organism lives in the intestines and is passed in the stool of the infected person. With some infections, animals can also be infected and spread the disease to humans.

Causes of dysentery

Dysentery is linked to poor sanitation conditions and is spread mainly via contaminated food and water. When a person is infected, the organism lives in his/her intestines and is passed in the stool of the infected person. If this comes in contact with food or water, it gets contaminated.

Most commonly, dysentery is caused by drinking water or eating food from sources contaminated with feces containing the pathogens. Swimming in contaminated water may also result in dysentery. For this reason, dysentery occurs most frequently in people traveling to developing countries and in children who touch infected human or animal feces without proper hand washing.
It is most commonly caused by viral, bacterial or protozoan infections.

Symptoms of dysentery

Symptoms of dysentery can last for five days or even longer. For some, the symptoms might be mild, while others suffer from severe diarrhoea and or vomiting that could potentially cause dehydration.

Abdominal bloating
Abdominal pain
Bloody diarrhoea
Flatulence
Nausea, with or without vomiting

However, if the infection is severe, one might experience other symptoms due to dehydration:

Decreased urine output
Dry skin and mucous membranes
Excessive thirst
Fever and chills
Muscle cramps
Loss of strength
Weight loss

Treatment of dysentery

Clinical diagnosis is necessary to control dysentery. In most cases, antibiotics are used to treat dysentery. Make sure you take the full-course to avoid relapse.
In addition, make sure your body is hydrated by drinking enough fluids. And get adequate rest.

Some tips to prevent dysentery

Avoid swallowing water in swimming pools or other recreational water sources
Make sure you drink only purified water.
Drink packaged drinking water when travelling, backpacking, camping or hiking
Wash your hands with an antibacterial soap after using the bathroom, changing diapers, before preparing and eating food, backpacking, camping or hiking
Avoiding swallowing water in swimming pools, hot tubs, or other recreational water sources
Drinking only purified water when visiting developing countries
Using purified water for brushing your teeth and washing food when visiting developing countries.

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