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Medwatch-E. Coli

E.coli is bacteria that can be found almost anywhere, and while most strains are harmless, others can make you very sick.

E. coli can be transmitted via food two ways: through undercooked meat and contaminated produce. While E. coli poses a risk to everyone, people with weaker immune systems need to be especially careful. 

"Children in particular tend to develop complications of E. coli infections sometimes, which are life threatening, and they're at particular risk and so we need to be very concerned about them," Dr. John Tafuri, Cleveland Clinic, said.

Dr. Tafuri says undercooked ground beef is a common culprit when it comes to E. coli infections. E. coli is usually treated based on symptoms, which can include stomach cramping and diarrhea that is typically more severe than what you would get from a virus.

He says antibiotics are not used to treat E. coli, and they can sometimes make symptoms worse. He says when it comes to E. coli, prevention is the key to staying healthy.

"Prevention is number one. Supportive treatment can be very helpful, but preventing the illness from the start by thorough cooking, thorough hygiene as far how you cut your meat, and the utensils and items you use is the most important thing. Let's prevent the illness and not even have to worry about treating it down the road," Dr. Tafuri said.

Dr. Tafuri says while most cases will self-resolve, folks with severe symptoms, especially children, should seek medical attention immediately to avoid further complications.

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