Best pediatricians treat botulism in children. Botulism is a rare paralytic illness that can be fatal. It is caused by poisoning by bacteria. The toxins present in the bacteria attack the nervous system and can create permanent damage. It affects all categories of persons, but it is most common in children who consume honey.

Types of botulism

There are 4 forms of botulism:

  • Food botulism: the most common.
  • Infant botulism: in infants under one year of age.
  • Injury botulism: it occurs when an open wound is infected with the bacteria.
  • Botulism by the colonization of the intestine in adults who already have an intestinal disease.

Causes of botulism

The bacterium originally is called Clostridium Botulinum, and it comes in several strains that most commonly thrive in food, including:

  • Low-acid foods that are improperly canned (corn, green beans, asparagus, beets, mushrooms, salmon, spaghetti sauce, etc.)
  • Low acid juices (carrot) are poorly preserved.
  • Honey (in infants.)
  • Potatoes cooked and preserved in foil.

The bacteria that cause botulism lives and thrive in airless foods, which is why it is more common in canned products. It should be noted, however, that it is domestic canned goods (made at home) rather than commercial ones that are more likely to contain the bacteria in question.

Who is affected by botulism?

Anyone can be affected by botulism. Although very rare, the outbreak of the disease is more frequently observed in young children who consume honey (pasteurized or not) because if the bacteria are present there, it can colonize the immature intestine of toddlers. It is also observed in people who consume poorly preserved or prepared foods without respecting basic food hygiene rules.

However, botulism remains a very exceptional infection, and there are only about 1000 new cases per year worldwide. It’s important if you are in any way concerned that your child has botulism, that you contact the best pediatricians in Gastonia.

Symptoms of botulism

Symptoms of botulism start between 6 hours and 10 days after the first exposure to the bacteria. They can last for several months, then slowly wear off. They include, among others:

  • Vision disturbances
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Muscle weakness
  • Digestive disorders: vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation
  • Headaches
  • Dryness of the respiratory tract (mouth, throat, nose)
  • Speech disorders
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Respiratory failure

A paralysis that begins in the upper body (bars, shoulders) and gradually descends downwards

Paralysis of the neck (you can no longer move your head) and face (disappearance of facial expressions).

Possible risks of complications

The biggest complication with botulism is paralysis of the respiratory system.

Treatment of botulism

When botulism is discovered early (before the onset of paralyzing symptoms), it can be treated with an antitoxin, which will prevent the development of these symptoms, which reduces the risk of complications.

In severe cases, emergency medical intervention is necessary, often for several weeks: intensive breathing, assisted ventilation.

When the bacteria have “colonized” a wound, surgery is often necessary to remove the source of the contamination.

Prevention of botulism

It is only by adopting strict food hygiene rules that one can avoid contamination by the bacteria that causes botulism:

  • Do not store and/or consume cooked foods that remain at room temperature for more than 4 hours.
  • Throw away foods in which the containers in which they are stored are leaking, dented, or damaged.
  • Follow the hygiene recommendations when you make homemade preserves (cooking time and temperature, etc.)
  • Boil canned foods at home for at least 10 minutes before eating them.
  • Do not give honey or corn syrup to children one year of age or younger.
  • Always refrigerate canned garlic, fresh herbs in oil.
  • Do not eat potatoes (especially baked), which are stored at room temperature in aluminum foil.

Contact the best pediatricians in Gastonia NC

Botulism is a rare infection. It affects all categories of persons, but it is most common in children who consume honey.

Botulism could be fatal if proper care is not taken. So, if you notice the symptoms of botulism in your child, it is best advised to seek the services of the best pediatrician in Gastonia.

Contact  Gastonia Pediatric Associates, your Gastonia area pediatricians, offers top-quality pediatric care.