A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Dysentery: Dysentery is an intestinal inflammation especially in the colon that can lead to severe diarrhea with mucus or blood in the feces. Patients typically experience mild to severe abdominal pain or stomach cramps. In some cases untreated dysentery can be life threatening especially if the infected person cannot replace lost fluids fast enough.

Dysentery is a notifiable disease. If a doctor in Western Europe, North America and many other countries comes across a case of dysentery, local authorities must be informed. Symptoms usually appear from one to three days after the person has become infected. In most cases the patient recovers completely within a week.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, watery diarrhea, which can contain blood, mucus or pus, painful passing of stools and fatigue. In some cases people who get dysentery also develop lactose intolerance which can take a long time to go away.

Preventing dysentery: To minimise the risk of catching the condition, you should:
  •     wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet
  •     wash your hands before handling, eating or cooking food
  •     wash the laundry of an infected person on the hottest setting possible
If travelling to an area with poor sanitation:
  •     drink bottled water (make sure the seal is intact)
  •     do not have ice in your drinks 
  •     do not eat fresh fruit or vegetables that cannot be peeled before eating
  •     avoid eating food or drink bought from street vendors (except drinks from properly sealed cans or bottles)
See your doctor if you have diarrhea containing blood or mucus that lasts longer than a few days.

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

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