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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Infectious colitis is swelling and irritation of your colon caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You are urinating little or not at all.
- You are tired or have body weakness.
- You have a headache, dizziness, or confusion.
- You have irregular or fast breathing, fast or pounding heartbeat, and low blood pressure.
- You have sudden weight loss.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms continue for more than 30 days.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be given to treat the bacteria, virus, or parasite causing your infectious colitis.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Drink liquids to help prevent dehydration. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. You may need to drink an oral rehydration solution (ORS). An ORS contains a balance of water, salt, and sugar to replace body fluids lost during diarrhea. Ask what kind of ORS to use, how much to drink, and where to get it.
- Do not take medicine to stop your diarrhea. These medicines may make your symptoms last longer.
Prevent infectious colitis:
- Clean thoroughly. Wash your hands in warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after you handle food. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a diaper, or touch an animal. Rinse fruits and vegetables in running water. Clean cutting boards, knives, countertops, and other areas where you prepare food before and after you cook. Wash sponges and dishtowels weekly in hot water.
- Cook food all the way through. Cook eggs until the yolks are firm. Use a meat thermometer to make sure meat is heated to a temperature that will kill bacteria. Do not eat raw or undercooked chicken and turkey, seafood, or meat.
- Store food properly. Refrigerate or freeze fruits and vegetables, cooked foods, and leftovers.
- Drink safe water. Drink only treated water. Do not drink water from ponds or lakes, or from swimming pools that do not contain chlorine. Drink bottled water when traveling.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.