What are the symptoms and how long do they last?
If you have shigellosis, then you may experience:
- Sticky, slimy bloody stool
- High fever
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain and cramps
- Increased frequency of bowel movement
Symptoms usually start 1-2 days or sometimes 4 days after eating the contaminated food. The symptoms may last up to 4-7 days. You may get seizures from high fever. The health care provider may order a laboratory test to identify Shigella bacteria in the stool.
In some cases, bowel habits (frequency and consistency of stool) do not return to normal for several months.
How can shigellosis be treated?
Usually, people with shigellosis get better without any antibiotic treatment in 5-7 days. Some people with mild shigellosis might require only fluid and rest. Oral fluid consumption and hydration are important parts of the treatment.
Your doctor may suggest:
- Pepto-Bismol (Bismuth subsalicylate) to reduce diarrhea. Antidiarrheal medications, such as Imodium (loperamide), are not advised as they slow down gut function and may result in increased toxin accumulation in the gut.
- Antibiotics may help you to get better faster in severe cases. However, certain types of Shigella germs may not respond to some antibiotics. Therefore, the doctor may order certain laboratory tests (blood or stool culture and sensitivity) to determine which antibiotics are likely to work.
- Adequate fluid intake with proper hygiene care.