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If you have started to experience stomach cramping, vomiting, or feverish after eating, drinking or even after bathing, then you may have a bacterial infection caused by E. Coli.

Learn more about its symptoms and what you can do about it.

What is E. Coli?

Escherichia coli, aka E. coli, is a rod-shaped bacterium whose strains are mostly harmless and normally live in the intestines in healthy people and in animals.

Just like with candida, if there is a balanced amount of E. Coli, it is harmless and is beneficial to the digestive system by assisting to digest the food we consume.

The most common strain that causes diarrhoea and makes you feel sick is referred to E. coli 0157, which produces a toxin called Shiga. This toxin damages the lining of your small intestine and causes diarrhoea.

According to the WHO Global Burden of Food-borne Diseases, 300 million illnesses are reported to be caused by diarrhoeagenic E. coli  worldwide each year.


What are E. coli infection symptoms?

People can have the following symptoms typically within three to ten days after drinking or eating foods contaminated with E. Coli bacteria:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhoea
  • Blood in stools
  • Gas and flatulence
  • Stomach discomfort and cramping
  • Low fever (around 38.5 °C )
  • Urinary Tract Infection, particularly in women.

Most people will  feel much better without taking medication within five to seven days. (1.)

It is worth noting that another strain exists which can develop a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome in which the toxins can destroy red blood cells and damage the kidneys.

The symptoms of this strain include the following:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Confusion
  • Fast heart rate

What are the common causes of E. Coli?

You can only get infected by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Common food sources include:

  • Undercooked meat. This accounts for approximately 55% of E. coli infections.
    The riskier meat is ground beef, followed by steak.
  • Unpasteurised raw cows/goat/sheep milk.
  • Raw cheese
  • Fruits and vegetables that have not been thoroughly washed.

Common water sources include:

  • Ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, and the sea

How to prevent E. Coli

  • Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly before eating or drinking.
    You can also get E. Coli on your hands after changing baby diapers, having a bowel movement, being in contact with farm animals.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly
  • If you eat meat, make sure to cook it thoroughly. Using a thermometer will give you the indication when meat is thoroughly cooked.
    Wash your hands after you open a package with meat, since it is usually covered with bacteria. Never rinse raw meat in the sink before cooking it.
    Clean and disinfect all surfaces exposed to raw meat.  It is best to use a ceramic or plastic cutting board for meat since they can be cleaned easier.
    E. coli can still survive high heat, therefore reducing meat consumption or switching to a plant-based diet will minimise infection.
  • Avoid nail biting
  • Try to avoid getting water in the mouth, eyes, ears and nose if you are bathing in possibly contaminated fresh water, swimming pools and even the sea.

How to treat an E. Coli infection

The conventional treatment is to rest and drink plenty of fluids, since E. Coli usually clears up by itself within five to seven days.

Antibiotics are not typically recommended since they are ineffective against E. Coli.

Health care professionals don't recommend drugs to stop diarrhoea either, since this is the body's effective method in removing toxins from the body.

If there is severe dehydration and you're experiencing symptoms caused by the strain that develops hemolytic uremic syndrome, then hospitalisation may be needed to receive treatments, such as IV fluids, electrolytes etc.

1. Drink plenty of fluids

Experiencing diarrhoea will cause you to lose a lot of water, therefore it is best to drink good quality, filtered water.
Avoid tap water. To find out why, read my blog post: why you shouldn't drink tap water.

A nice healing broth recipe I can recommend is the following by Anthony Williams - Medical Medium:

Healing Broth Recipe


  • 4 carrots, chopped or 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of shiitake mushrooms, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped (optional)
  • 1 bulb of garlic (about 6-8 cloves), minced
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger root
  • 1 inch of fresh turmeric root
  • 8 cups of water
  • Optional: Chili peppers or red pepper flakes


Place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a gentle boil. Turn heat down to low and allow to simmer for about an hour. Strain and sip for a mineral rich, healing and restorative broth or leave the veggies in to enjoy as a light healing soup.

2. Take oregano capsules

Oregano oil is a powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal.

You can take oregano daily up to a maximum of 2 weeks, then it is best to take a break before taking them again.

A study in 2003 (2) concluded that the bactericidal concentration of oregano irreversibly damaged E. Coli and is therefore effective in prevention as well as treatment.

You may wish to speak to your doctor first before taking oregano oil since it may interfere with medication involved with blood clotting and increase risk of bleeding.

Oregano oil is generally not recommended for pregnant women.


3. Take Activated charcoal 

Activated charcoal is a potent absorber of toxins and chemicals. I highly recommend having activated charcoal at home as one of the first-aid remedies.

There is no set dosage as such, so it is best to follow the instructions on the label.

As a general rule:

For the onset of diarrhoea, take 1000 mg with a full glass of water and 1 hour later take another 1000mg with a full glass of water.

For children, take 200mg with a glass of water and 1 hour later they can take another 200mg with plenty of water.

It is the number one remedy for food poisoning and can even prevent hangovers.  Pesticides, mercury, fertilisers and other chemicals bind to the surface of activated charcoal and pulls them out of the body.

Activated charcoal is used to filter water, such as the Big Berkey water filter I recommend as mentioned in my blog post on Filtering Your Water to Optimize Your Health

A study published in 2001 (3) concluded that activated charcoal is a powerful and effective absorber for the removal of  E. Coli. In this study, 10mg of activated charcoal absorbed strains of E. Coli within 5 minutes, whilst not affecting the good bacteria needed within our gut for a healthy microflora.

It is important to take activated charcoal at least 90 minutes before meals, supplements and prescription medicine as it can interfere with absorption.

Activated charcoal may interfere with the following medication:

  • Naltrexone (used for alcohol and opioid dependence)
  • Acrivastine
  • Bupropion
  • Carbinoxamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Meclizine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Sulfate Liposome
  • Mycophenolate Mofetil
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Suvorexant
  • Tapentadol
  • Umeclidinium
  • Acetaminophin
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Theophylline

If there are any doubts, consult your doctor.


  1. Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16638-e-coli-infection
  2. Burt SA, Reinders RD. Antibacterial activity of selected plant essential oils against Escherichia coli O157:H7. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2003;36(3):162-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1472-765x.2003.01285.x. PMID: 12581376. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12581376/

  3. Naka K, Watarai S, Tana, Inoue K, Kodama Y, Oguma K, Yasuda T, Kodama H. Adsorption effect of activated charcoal on enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli. J Vet Med Sci. 2001 Mar;63(3):281-5. doi: 10.1292/jvms.63.281. PMID: 11307928. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11307928/



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