Public health officials say people with E.coli infections should not use antidiarrheal products as they may increase their risk of developing a potentially deadly complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). But that information seems to have slipped by the team responsible for Pepto Bismol’s new ad campaign.
The television ads specifically mention diarrhea from bacteria in food. The problem is that diarrhea is a primary symptom of food poisoning regardless of the bacteria responsible for the infection. And without seeing a doctor and getting a test, someone suffering from food poisoning has no idea if the source of the foodborne illness is E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, another bacteria, a virus or a parasite.
Studies have found that Pepto Bismol reduced the frequency and looseness of stools in between 16 and 18 percent of people who tried it. So the chance of relief isn’t great, but the risk of harm is.
What is HUS?
HUS, a complication that affects about 10 percent of people with E. coli infections, can cause kidney failure, seizure, stroke, coma and death.
Symptoms of HUS usually develop about a week after initial E. coli symptoms. They include: bloody diarrhea, bloody urine, a decrease in urination, pale skin, skin that bruises easily, fatigue, irritability, confusion and swelling of the face, hands, feet and body. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
Anyone with an E. coli infection can get HUS, but some people are at elevated risk. Children, particularly those under five, are at the highest risk of developing HUS. Others at high risk are seniors and those with compromised immune systems.
The reason that HUS poses such a danger is that it causes blood vessels to become swollen or damaged and blood clots form blocking the filtering system of the kidneys. Treatment includes dialysis, blood transfusions and plasma therapy.
The food poisoning lawyers at Pritzker Hageman have seen the devastating affects HUS can have on a family. Our team has successfully represented clients in every major E. coli outbreak in the last 20 years.
Please follow the advice of public health officials and avoid taking over-the-counter antidiarrheal products if you have food poisoning. If you have an E. coli infection and would like a free consultation with our lease call 1-888-377-8900 or text 612-261-0856.