How is an E. coli infection treated?

Fortunately, most E. coli infections go away on their own. You can help yourself manage E. coli infection by drinking plenty of fluids to replace what you’ve lost through diarrhea and/or vomiting. Also, get as much rest as possible.

Antibiotics are usually not given for STEC O157 infection because they can make your illness worse and put you at risk for hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Also, don’t take any medicines to stop diarrhea (such as bismuth subsalicylate [Pepto-Bismol®, Kaopectate®] or loperamide [Imodium®]), because it could keep the E. coli bacteria in your body and increase your chance of HUS.

You should start to feel better about five to seven days from the time you first developed symptoms.

When should I see a healthcare provider about an E. coli infection?

See your healthcare provider about an E. coli infection if:

You have diarrhea for more than three days and:

  • You can’t keep any fluids down.
  • You have blood in your poop.
  • You are feeling very tired.
  • You have many bouts of vomiting.
  • You have a fever higher than 102 °F.
  • You are not peeing (urinating) a lot.
  • You are losing pink color in cheeks and inside your lower eyelids.

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