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Treatment

If you have a mild case of shigellosis, you probably won't need treatment because your symptoms will probably go away on their own. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics if there are very young or very old members in your household who could get the infection.

If you have a severe case of shigellosis, your doctor will prescribe fluids to treat dehydration and an antibiotic. Many strains of Shigella have developed resistance to multiple antibiotics. Your doctor will choose an antibiotic based on how and where you became infected.

The use of antidiarrheal medicines to slow bowel movements is controversial because it can take longer to clear the bacteria from the lower intestine. This could potentially cause the infection to become more severe.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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