Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, is the cause of approximately 85% of urinary tract infections (UTIs). E. coli can develop in raw produce, unpasteurized fruit juice, raw and undercooked beef, and contaminated water. In most cases, individuals with healthy immune systems do not experience negative symptoms when exposed to E. coli. If an individual has a weakened immune system, he or she can become ill from E. coli exposure. One of the ways a victim can suffer from this type of food poisoning is a UTI.
Symptoms of a UTI include:
- Cloudy urine;
- Blood in the urine, which can cause it to appear red or brown;
- An unusually foul smell to the urine;
- Back pain;
- An overwhelming, persistent urge to urinate;
- Painful urination; and
- Discharge from the urethra.
It can be easy to mistake UTI symptoms for symptoms of other conditions. This is especially common with older UTI patients and women who might mistake UTI symptoms for PMS and menstruation.
How E.Coli can Cause a UTI
E. coli bacteria develop and survive in the intestines. It exits the body through fecal matter, which is why produce fertilized with cow manure is strongly linked with E. coli. When an infected individual’s fecal matter comes into contact with his or her urethra, the individual can develop a UTI. UTIs are more common in women because the urethra opening is closer to the anus, so it is easier for bacteria to spread after using the toilet. A woman’s urethra is also shorter, which makes it easier for E. coli bacteria to reach the bladder and cause an infection.
Treating a UTI
UTIs must be treated with antibiotics. It is a common belief that cranberry juice and other products can treat UTIs, but the truth is that these products can only lessen an individual’s risk of developing one, and even then, data is mixed. They cannot treat an existing infection.
If you experience the symptoms discussed above, seek treatment from your primary care provider. Your doctor can determine whether you are suffering from a UTI or another type of infection and the cause of that infection. He or she can also prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection.
You can reduce your chance of contracting E. coli by always washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling animals and food. Wash all produce completely before you eat it and if you eat beef, be sure to cook it through completely to kill any lingering bacteria.
Work with an Experienced Libertyville Food Poisoning Attorney
A UTI can be extremely painful. When your UTI is the result of another party’s negligence, whether that party was a food retailer, a party host, or a food distributor, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your damages related to the infection. To learn more about your rights and start working on your claim, contact our team of food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP today to schedule your initial consultation in our office. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Annie Spratt)