How Long Does Shigella Last?

Shigella can last for anywhere between few hours to few days. The symptoms of shigella may take several days to clear off completely. In most individuals, the symptoms of Shigella last for about a week. The infection does not necessarily require attention. However, if there is excessive loss of water for the body, a person needs to be attended immediately. Also, in case of rectal bleeding, a person needs to be admitted for controlling bleeding.

The bacteria causing Shigella stays in the intestine and can take a long time to clear off completely. The bacteria can take several days to clear off even if the symptoms of infection are gone. Thus, it is important to avoid contact with the infected person for some time even after he shows no symptoms of infection. A person infected with Shigella can easily spread infection via anything that he touches in the home including towels, walls, seating area, bed, sink, basin etc.

Shigella can clear off on its own in a healthy and strong individual in less than a week without any need to medication. However, it can persist for longer period in case of infants and older adults. In such cases, it becomes chronic and poses risk of excessive dehydration and other complications. Some of them can even be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Shigella

Symptoms of Shigella

The most common symptoms of Shigella are mild fever. Some people can also develop diarrhea. In a few cases (one out of every four), the fever can be high accompanied with severe diarrhea and cramps in stomach. A person would feel a greater urge of bowel movement. Also, the frequency of bowel movement can increase to 20 or 30 per day. In a very few cases, the Shigella bacteria can infect other parts of the body in addition to inner walls of the intestine. In such cases, a person may experience kidney problems, pain in joints, confusion etc…

There is also a category of people who do not show symptoms of shigella even after catching infection. Medical experts are still trying to understand the possible reasons.
Shigella and diarrhea go together. Thus, it can be hard to differentiate diarrhea from Shigella. One way to differentiate is to pay attention to the bowel movement. In case of Shigella, the bowel movements are watery and sometimes the bowel movements are associated with blood and mucus.

Some other symptoms of shigella include loss of appetite, cramps in stomach, pain during bowel movement, vomiting, nausea and high fever. Excessive loss of fluids from the body can cause severe complications including kidney failure.

Shigella is a bacterial infection affecting intestines. It has derived its name from the Shigella bacteria that is responsible for the infection. The toxins produced by the bacteria affect the inner lining of the large intestine resulting into ulcers and swelling. Diarrhea accompanied with blood is a common symptom of shigella. Other symptoms include pain in stomach, fever, watery diarrhea etc…

Shigella is contagious in nature. Shigella can spread through contaminated food and water. A physical contact with the stool of the infected infant while changing diapers can also spread the infection. Thus, it is important to maintain proper sanitation. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap frequently. The shigella usually takes just about 10 minutes to cause infection once it enters into the body. Thus, there is high risk of spreading of shigella in public places and in places such as schools and offices where lots of people gather together.

Shigella can occur in all individuals belonging to any age group. However, the risk of infection is higher in case of small children in the age group of 2-3 years as they do not take proper care of sanitation.

What Can I Do to Help Myself Feel Better?

People infected with Shigella can lose fluids in the body very quickly due to persistent vomiting caused by diarrhea. Thus, the most important thing is to take care of replenishing the amount of water lost from the body. Your doctor will help you prepare a proper diet based on your current health situation. For some time, you may be recommended a complete liquid diet until your stomach is ready for the normal diet. Liquid diet ensures that there are no complications resulting due to lack of fluids in the body.

You must be careful about taking medications for diarrhea as they can make the symptoms worse. The medications actually allow the bacteria to stay in the body for longer period. Thus, it is important that you refer to your doctor before taking any medication for diarrhea.

Usually, shigella and its symptoms do not cause any severe complications. Bowel movements gradually become normal as the infections goes away. A patient usually recovers completely from shigella to normal health without any long-lasting problems.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 6, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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