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Infectious Colitis

AMBULATORY CARE:

Infectious colitis

is swelling and irritation of your colon caused by bacteria, a parasite, or a virus.

Common signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Diarrhea 3 or more times in a day
  • Bowel movements that contain blood or mucus
  • Headache or body aches
  • Low-grade fever (less than 101.0 F)
  • Abdominal pain, bloating, and cramps

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are urinating less than normal or not at all.
  • You have a headache, dizziness, or confusion.
  • You have irregular or fast breathing or a fast or pounding heartbeat.
  • You suddenly lose weight without trying.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You are more tired than usual or weak.
  • Your symptoms last for more than 30 days.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for infectious colitis

may include medicine to treat the bacteria, virus, or parasite.

Manage infectious colitis:

  • Drink liquids as directed to help prevent dehydration. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Ask your healthcare provider if you should drink an oral rehydration solution (ORS). An ORS contains a balance of water, salt, and sugar to replace body fluids lost during diarrhea.
  • Do not take medicine to stop your diarrhea. These medicines may make your symptoms last longer.

Prevent infectious colitis:

  • Wash your hands well. 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.
    Handwashing
  • Clean food and utensils thoroughly. 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.
  • Keep cooked and raw foods separate in your grocery cart, grocery bags, and refrigerator. This prevents cross contamination. Cross contamination is when germs from one food spread to another food. This happens when juices from raw meat, fish, and eggs get on cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Use a separate cutting board for raw foods. Never put cooked food on an unwashed plate that had raw meat, seafood, or eggs on it.
  • Cook meat as directed.
    • Cook ground meat to 160°F.
    • Cook ground poultry, whole poultry, or cuts of poultry to at least 165°F. Remove the meat from heat. Let it stand for 3 minutes before you eat it.
    • Cook whole cuts of meat other than poultry to at least 145°F. Remove the meat from heat. Let it stand for 3 minutes before you eat it.
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked oysters, clams, or mussels. These foods may be contaminated and cause infection.
  • Refrigerate food immediately. This will help slow down the growth of germs. Your refrigerator should be at 40°F or below to keep foods safe. Put meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood in the refrigerator or freezer within 2 hours after cooking or buying them. Always thaw food in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave. Do not thaw food on your countertop.
  • Drink safe water. Drink only treated water. Do not drink water from ponds or lakes, or swimming pools. Drink bottled water when traveling.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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