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Mom speaks out after son's E. coli diagnosis

Posted at 11:06 PM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 23:06:05-05

A mom speaks out after her teenaged son was diagnosed with E. coli this week.

“I never thought this would happen to us. Never. And it did,” said Kathy Phan whose 14 -year-old son is taking meds to rid his body of E. coli.

“Basically when the doctor told me what was wrong with him, I almost fell out of my seat,” she said.

Phan described her self as a “germophobe,” and was surprised to learn of her son’s diagnosis. She said she always tells her friends and family to wash their hands. She said she even makes her kids wash their hands up to their elbows.

There are two reported cases of E. coli in Lee County so far this month. This comes at the time of the lettuce related outbreak that’s infected 32 people nationwide. Even though the CDC hasn’t reported any lettuce related E. coli cases in Florida, Phan’s staying on the safe side.

“We will not be having no more lettuce. That’s for sure,” she said.

And Phan said she didn’t take her son to the hospital right away. She said she thought her son was experiencing a typical spell of diarrhea and tried to wait it out. But after the fourth day of the runs, she took him to the hospital. She said she's warning other parents to be proactive.

“Don’t wait. When you start seeing the symptoms, don’t wait,” she said.

And Dr. Bruce Lipshutz with Millennium Physician Group agreed.

“Some people like to take risks. I don’t take risks,” he said.

Lipshutz said it takes one to three days for E. Coli to settle in and it could last as long as five days. E. coli symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. He said if you exhibit any of these, it’s crucial to seek help, ASAP. Especially if you have other medical problems.

“So if you have any other underlying medical issues - heart, lung disease, stroke disease, diabetes, hypertension, and you’re on medicines that may even make dehydration worse, then don’t take any chances. Talk to your doctor,” he said.

Phan said her son is feeling much since he’s been taking antibiotics. But she still said she urges parents to take this seriously.

“If you know there’s outbreaks or hear of outbreaks, don’t brush it off, please. Don’t brush it off. This is not something you play with,” she said. “People think oh, it won’t happen to me, and next thing you know, you’re me.”

Dr. Lipshutz said it’s really important to wash your hands, especially during the holidays. He suggested constantly wiping down counter tops and disinfecting refrigerators after having lettuce or any other possibly contaminated foods stored there.