Dysentery: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

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Monsoon is here, so be extra cautious about where you eat and drink! Find out more about dysentery.

Dysentery is spread via contaminated food or water

What is dysentery?

Dysentery, essentially refers to gastrointestinal disorders characterised by inflammation of the intestines. According to the World Health Organisation, dysentery is charecterised by diarrhoea, where blood is present in loose, watery stools.

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.

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.

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.
  • Wash your hands with an antibacterial soap after using the bathroom, changing diapers, before preparing and eating food.

Photograph via sxc.hu

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