Dysentery; Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, & Prognosis

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long would it take to get rid of dysentery?

Dysentery generally lasts for a week and resolves on its own. However, seek immediate medical help if it lasts longer than a week.

2. Is blood in stool always dysentery?

No blood in the stool can be present due to many other diseases such as ulcerative colitis. It is always advisable to visit a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis.

3. How can I avoid passing on Dysentery to other people around me?

Wash your hands properly, stay away from people and avoid public activities like swimming and preparing food for others till 2 days after the symptoms have subsided.

4. When should I visit a doctor?

Although dysentery treats on its own in 3-7 days, it is always advisable to visit a doctor if the symptoms are too severe or if the symptoms do not get better within the first few days.

5. How can I reduce the risk of getting dysentery?

  • You can reduce the risk of getting dysentery by taking the following precautions:
  • Wash your hands thoroughly, properly, and regularly, especially after using the toilet.
  • Wash hands before handling food.
  • Always eat food that you know has been prepared hygienically.
  • If traveling abroad to countries where dysentery is common, always make sure to drink bottled water.

6. For how long should I stay at home to avoid passing the disease to others?

You should ideally stay at home for 2 days after your symptoms have subsided, to avoid passing the disease on to other people.

7. What can I do to stay hydrated when I am suffering from dysentery?

Drinking plenty of fluids, especially oral rehydration solutions, is important to avoid dehydration which can lead to other complications.

8. What type of food should I be eating if I have dysentery?

Eating bland and soft food items like bananas, boiled white rice, boiled potatoes, and bread, etc. is always advisable.

9. What type of food is not to eat if I have dysentery?

Avoid spicy or difficult-to-digest food items like curry, fatty fried items or raw vegetables, etc. Also, avoid milk or dairy products.

10. Can dysentery cause death?

Severe dysentery can cause death due to dehydration or further medical complications. Young children are especially at a risk, however, it can prove to be fatal for persons of any age.

REFERENCES

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Kotloff KL, Winickoff JP, Ivanoff B, Clemens JD, Swerdlow DL, Sansonetti PJ, et al. Global burden of Shigella infections: implications for vaccine development and implementation of control strategies. Bull World Health Organ. 1999;77:651–66.

Vinh HA, V. Campbell, J. Hoang, N. Nga, T. Ngu, N. et al. A multi-center randomized trial to assess the efficacy of gatifloxacin versus ciprofloxacin for the treatment of shigellosis in Vietnamese children. Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2011;5(8):e1264.]

Dans, L. F., & Martínez, E. G. (2007). Amoebic dysentery. BMJ clinical evidence, 2007, 0918.

WHO Diarrhoeal Diseases Control Programme: report of the fifteenth meeting of the Technical Advisory Group, Geneva, 20-23 April 1994.

Jandu N., Goldberg M.B. (2013) Dysentery. In: Rosenberg E., DeLong E.F., Lory S., Stackebrandt E., Thompson F. (eds) The Prokaryotes. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Williams, P., & Berkley, J. A. (2018). Guidelines for the treatment of dysentery (shigellosis): a systematic review of the evidence. Paediatrics and international child health, 38(sup1), S50–S65.