How to Identify and Help Prevent Dysentery

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What Is Dysentery?

In the days before public water supplies were purified, dysentery outbreaks were a major health problem in countries around the world. When sewage came in contact with drinking water or food, germs could infect large groups of people with dysentery. The results, often caused by dehydration, could be fatal. In some areas of the world, dysentery remains a stubborn challenge for health officials today. An intestinal inflammation in the colon that causes diarrhea with blood and mucus, dysentery also may cause stomach cramps and fever. As recently as spring 2015, a dysentery outbreak in a small Philippine district made some 30 people sick. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are two different types of dysentery: amoebic and bacillary. Amoebic—caused by a type of amoeba—is more common in the tropics. Bacillary—caused by bacteria such as Shigella, E. coli, and Salmonella—usually occurs among people who haven’t traveled to the tropics recently.1,2

What Causes Dysentery?

The main symptom of dysentery is frequent diarrhea with a near water-like consistency. It often will include blood or mucus. Other symptoms can include:

  • High fever and chills
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas
  • Cramps or bloating
  • Appetite loss/vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of strength
  • Weight loss

How Can Safeguard® Help Prevent Dysentery?

Because dysentery is spread as a result of poor hygiene, frequent hand washing with antibacterial soap can help minimize the risk of catching it. Particular care should be taken to wash hands before preparing food, and after using the toilet, changing diapers, and coming in contact with a person with dysentery. Also, be sure to:

  • Teach your children the importance of proper hand washing—and how to do it.
  • Avoid swallowing water in swimming pools or other recreational swimming areas.
  • Drink only purified water.
  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables carefully before cooking and eating them.

SOURCES: Medical News Today Healthgrades 2 C-Health