With the E. coli outbreaks hitting some of Canada and the U.S., some believe that washing fruits and vegetablesis enough. Others think soaking the produce in water mixed with salt or vinegar suffices. Neither method will kill off the E. coli bacteria. Here’s what you need to know.
Elder Care Huntington Beach CA – Why Washing Fruits and Vegetables Won’t Always Keep Dad Safe
What is E. Coli?
E. cola is a bacteria found in the intestines of mammals. Many forms of this bacteria will never cause harm. There are some, however, that will make you sick. Vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea are common symptoms. Some people also have severe stomach pains that go along with diarrhea and vomiting/nausea.
How Does It Get Into Food Supplies?
This form of bacteria is transmitted through infected water or foods. It can be that an animal’s feces got into the water supply being used to water gardens. It could also be a case of manure used on the farm or garden was contaminated with the harmful version of E. coli.
In the recent outbreaks, suspicions are that romaine lettuce is to blame. Here’s where the problems arise. The only way to kill E. coli with certainty is by cooking your foods. Things like lettuce, however, are usually eaten raw. While washing or soaking vegetables may remove any dirt and manure, it can’t kill any E. coli.
What Can Be Done if E. Coli is Suspected?
If you think your dad has eaten or drank something and gotten E. coli, call his doctor. A fecal test can determine if it is truly E. coli or the stomach flu. With either, you want to make sure your dad drinks plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
The doctor may want to know what your dad has eaten in the past few days. The incubation time for E. coli is usually a few days, but it can take up to 10 days for the disease to appear. Knowing what may have caused the disease is helpful in helping others avoid it and finding the farm or company where the food or water came from.
There really is no cure-all for E. coli. Your dad’s doctor will suggest lots of rest and plenty of liquids. Your dad may want to switch to bland foods while he recovers. Boiled, shredded chicken, rice, and mashed vegetables like winter squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots are often easier to digest while the stomach and intestines recover.
Once the symptoms pass, replenishing the good bacteria levels is helpful. Have your dad eat yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other foods that have probiotics.
While he recovers and gains his appetite back, have an elder care services provider available to help out with household cleaning chores, meal preparation, and laundry. Elder care services will help your dad rest. Caregivers can make sure your dad drinks enough fluid. Call our elder care agency to get started.