Staying Safe from E.coli

By: Amanda Crawford Email
By: Amanda Crawford Email

The strain of E.coli that's making people sick in Germany right now is very different than a strain the United States has seen before.

Augusta Health says it's gotten several messages about the E.coli outbreak from state and local health departments that it's forwarded onto doctors and specialists.

An infection control specialist at Augusta Health says E.coli is always a risk, and she says there are certain, specific symptoms for which people should be on the lookout.

"Anytime you start developing diarrhea, abdominal cramps, severe pain and any bloody diarrhea," says Carolyn Palmer, an Infection Prevention and Control Specialist at Augusta Health. "That needs to be reported to your physician."

Palmer says the strain in Germany is threatening because it's different than any strain we've seen, and it seems to be more viral.

A local Extension Agent says people cannot forget important steps with their meat and produce if they want to stay healthy.

Cooking your food to a certain temperature kills the bacteria, but fresh produce needs to be washed thoroughly.

Since E.coli is a surface bacteria, cross-contamination is a danger as well, so washing utensils is important.

Cristin Sprenger, with the Rockingham County Extension Office, says young children and elderly people are at the greatest risk, and the best thing to do if you think you've been exposed is to go right to your doctor.

"Healthy adults, they may have been exposed to E.coli, and they don't show the signs and symptoms that someone who has a compromised immune system would, you're talking about your small children and your senior citizens," says Sprenger.

Another place you can get E.coli is from contaminated water.

City water is regulated and tested, but if you live in the country and have your own personal well, that needs to be checked at least once a year.

For more information on how to do that, you can visit the Rockingham county extension office's Website.


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