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Health Information For Parents
An infection with Shigella (shih-GEL-uh)
is called shigellosis (shih-guh-LOW-sus). It can cause watery diarrhea or diarrhea with blood and/or mucus in it.
Besides diarrhea, shigellosis can cause:
Shigellosis can lead to dehydration. In rare cases, other complications like arthritis, seizures, and kidney problems can happen.
Shigellosis is very contagious. People can get infected through contact with something contaminated by stool (poop) from an infected person, such as:
Shigella also can spread via:
It doesn’t take many Shigella bacteria to cause an infection, so the illness spreads easily in families and childcare centers. For instance, kids who touch a contaminated surface such as a toilet or toy and then put their fingers in their mouths can get shigellosis.
Shigella can pass in a person’s stool for about 4 weeks, even after the obvious symptoms of illness have gotten better.
To see if your child has shigellosis, the doctor will take a stool sample to test for Shigella bacteria.
Shigellosis often goes away without treatment. Doctors sometimes give antibiotics to those who have serious symptoms or other medical conditions. Antibiotics can shorten the illness and help prevent the spread of bacteria to others.
If the doctor prescribes antibiotics, give them as prescribed. Don’t give your child nonprescription medicines for vomiting or diarrhea unless the doctor recommends them because they can make the illness last longer. You can give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to reduce fever and make your child more comfortable.
To prevent dehydration, follow your doctor’s advice about what your child should eat and drink. Your doctor may recommend a special drink called an oral rehydration solution (such as Pedialyte), to replace body fluids.
Children who become dehydrated or those with more serious symptoms may need treatment in a hospital.
The best way to prevent shigellosis and many other infections is to wash hands well and often. This is especially important after using the toilet (or changing a diaper) and before eating or preparing food.
If you’re caring for a child who has diarrhea, wash your hands before touching other people and before handling food. (Anyone with a diarrhea should not prepare food for others.) Clean and disinfect any toilet used by someone with shigellosis often.
Call the doctor if your child has signs of shigellosis, such as watery diarrhea, diarrhea with blood or mucus, or belly pain.
Also call the doctor if your child has diarrhea and shows signs of dehydration, such as:
Adenoviruses can infect the lining of the eyes, airways and lungs, intestines, urinary tract, and nervous system. They’re common causes of fever, coughs, sore throats, diarrhea, and pinkeye.
Amebiasis is an intestinalÂ illness transmitted when someone eats or drinks something that’s contaminated with a microscopic parasite.
Undercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection marked by severe diarrhea. Here’s how to protect your family.
Washing your hands is the best way to stop germs from spreading. Learn all about the best way to wash your hands in this article for kids.
A stool culture helps doctors determine if there’s a bacterial infection in the intestines.
Cholera is an intestinal infection that mostly affects people in tropical regions. Find out more about cholera in this article for teens.
While cholera isn’t common in the U.S., it can be a health threat elsewhere. Learn about cholera and how to prevent it.
Giardiasis, one of the chief causes of diarrhea in the United States, is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite.
Rotavirus infection affects most kids and is one of the most common causes of diarrhea. A vaccine to prevent it is now recommended for all kids.
Undercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection and severe diarrhea. Here’s how to protect yourself.
Did you ever eat something that made you feel ooky? It might have been food poisoning.
Germs are the microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can cause disease.
Washing your hands well and often is the best way to keep from getting sick. Here’s how to teach this all-important habit to your kids.
Most kids battle diarrhea from time to time, so it’s importantÂ to know what to do to relieve and even prevent it.
Most vomiting is caused by gastroenteritis, and usually isn’t serious. These home-care tips can help prevent dehydration.
Nearly everybody gets diarrhea every once in a while, and it’s usually caused by gastrointestinal infections. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Read this article to learn more.
Doctors order basic blood chemistry tests to assess a wide range of conditions and the function of organs.
People often think of salmonellosis as food poisoning, but food is only one way the bacteria Salmonella can be spread.
Salmonellosis is an illness caused by a bacteria found in raw food, soil, water and the bowel movements of some animals, including reptiles. Find out how to prevent this illness.
Fevers happen when the body’s internal “thermostat” raises the body temperature above normal. This is often the body’s way of fighting infections.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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