Shigellosis or Shigella: Causes, Symptoms & Remedies
Shigellosis is a foul and dangerous infection of the gut, and affects millions of people in Africa and South Asia every year. Therefore, knowing more about what causes this illness, and the possible remedies you can use to alleviate or prevent the symptoms is very important.
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What is Shigellosis or Shigella?
In many parts of the world, where hygiene and sanitation are in short supply, foodborne illnesses can be a major problem. Shigellosis is one such infection that is caused by the Shigella bacterium, which is often found in water that has been contaminated by feces. While this scenario seems inconceivable to some people in the western world, contact between fecal matter and food occurs all over the world, meaning that no one is completely safe from shigellosis. Transmission of this bacterium goes through the fecal-oral route, typically by washing food with contaminated water or the handling of food by children with low standards of hygiene. Shigellosis is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in impoverished or third-world countries, and can be deadly if the body becomes too dehydrated or nutrient-deficient.
The symptoms of shigellosis are similar to other gastrointestinal infections, and can range in intensity, from milk symptoms and stomach aches to persistent and painful diarrhea. At times, the infection can even cause damage to the nervous system, resulting in seizures. The formal treatment for this illness includes antibiotics, in most cases, although certain strains have been showing increased resistance, which is worrisome. Therefore, natural means of preventing this illness are often turned to around the world. The duration of this illness can be as short as a day, but can extend past a week if left untreated. Recovery time after the infection has been flushed out is typically another 5-7 days. Now, let’s take a closer look at the many natural remedies for shigellosis.
Prevention and Remedies for Shigellosis
Shigellosis or shigella can be prevented using many natural remedies. These include proper water consumption, keeping yourself clean, intake of peppermint, bananas, ginger, and disposing of diapers with care.
The biggest problem with shigellosis is that it quickly depletes your body of liquids due to the nearly constant diarrhea that this infection can cause. When your body loses its water, your organ systems begin to slow down or even shut down, making it impossible to fight back effectively against this infection. You should be drinking water as frequently as possible, at least 10-12 glass per day, if you are suffering from shigellosis. This will also stimulate the excretion system, which can help shorten the duration of the infection.
Keep Yourself Clean
If you have been infected by shigellosis, you want to ensure that you don’t exacerbate the infection with more of the bacteria, nor do you want to infect anyone around you. Take proper hygiene precautions by washing your hands before handling food and after going to the bathroom. Regularly showering can be a good way to feel energized and clean, even if you are suffering from this illness, and should speed the healing process.
When it comes to settling the stomach and ensuring proper gastrointestinal health, few herbs have been more trusted over time than peppermint. With a natural anti-inflammatory capacity and antiseptic properties that can help to neutralize bacteria, peppermint is one of the best options to treat shigellosis. Peppermint tea is a popular method of benefitting from this plant, but you can also just chew on the leaves directly.
Get Enough Rest
If you have been struck down by shigellosis, your body’s energy reserves will be severely depleted. If you don’t take in enough nutrients, or if they’re being excreted through the system too quickly, then your body will be struggling to function normally. Ensure that you get enough rest during the recovery process, as most of the healing process occurs during sleep, while we are resting.
Some of the best foods for our gastrointestinal health are fruits, not only because they are rich in fiber, but also packed with nutrients that can help strengthen the immune system and protect gut health. Bananas are packed with potassium and other key electrolytes that the body needs for fluid balance and cellular transfer. Excessive diarrhea can deplete the body of electrolytes, but bananas can remedy this problem quickly.
Swim With Caution
Swimming in infected water can be a very fast way of contracting shigellosis, since it is very possible that you’ll consume the water while diving beneath the waves. When swimming in a new place, ensure that the water quality is adequate and the chlorine content is high enough to kill any bacteria. If this isn’t the case, even the bacteria on your skin can weaken your immune system or infect you, so be sure to thoroughly shower after swimming in a potentially contaminated lake.
Dispose of Diapers With Care
Given that this illness relies fecal-to-oral transmission, any close contact between feces and humans should be approached with caution. When changing a baby’s diaper, the feces may be infected, but the job still needs to be done. Always dispose of dirty diapers immediately and wash your hands afterwards with antibacterial gel or soap.
Ginger is one of the most popular foods for settling gastrointestinal issues, as it has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that can balance the health of the stomach and ensure normal digestion patterns. Ginger tea is a popular options, but it can also be eaten raw or pickled to boost the health of the immune system and ease the symptoms of shigellosis, namely diarrhea and stomach distress.
Final Word of Warning
While these natural remedies and preventative measures are effective, shigellosis can be very dangerous if the infection is severe. Antibiotics are strongly recommended in most cases, but at the very least, you should see a medical professional, if possible, to ensure that you start yourself on the right treatment regiment.