Definition of food poisoning in children
Food poisoning, which is normally caused by eating food or drinking water that’s polluted with among a number of sort of nasty bacteria, can be hard to distinguish from a stomach virus, which is generally detected the hands and transferred to the mouth. The symptoms are the same: abdominal cramping, queasiness, vomiting, diarrhea, and typically fever, chills, achiness, and headache.
If your toddler has food poisoning, the symptoms will likely appear two to 48 hours after eating the food and will normally last a day or two but can continue in severe cases for a week or more.
Types of food poisoning in toddlers
Testing of blood, stool, and remaining food may determine the bacteria when needed, but typically the doctor won’t need to identify the specific offender because the treatment is the same regardless. (In reality, the treatment is the same for a stomach virus, too.) There are exceptions, though. If there’s blood in your toddler’s stool, for instance, the doctor will test to make sure that he doesn’t have food poisoning that’s caused by a possibly harmful bacteria, like E. coli 0157: H7, Shigella, or Salmonella.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common food-borne infections are those caused by the bacteria Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli 0157: H7, as well as by a group of viruses called noroviruses. Less common– however dangerous if left unattended– is botulism. Here’s a glance at these bacteria:
Campylobacter is the most frequently identified food-borne bacterium. It’s usually transferred through raw or undercooked poultry or unpasteurized milk, but your toddler can likewise get it from contaminated water. It’s not normally spread out from person to person, however it can be.
If your child has it and has diarrhea, for example, you might possibly get it from cleaning him up.
It’s likewise possible to contract the bacteria from the stool of a dog or cat. Campylobacter typically goes undiagnosed since there are sometimes no symptoms, but signs can include queasiness and vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. It typically lasts for two to 5 days, but can linger for approximately ten days.
Salmonella can be present in raw or undercooked eggs, poultry and meat, raw milk and dairy products, and seafood, and can be spread by food handlers. Reptiles like pet iguanas, turtles, lizards, and snakes can likewise carry Salmonella. In most cases, if your child has a bout of Salmonella, he’ll develop fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. He might likewise have tiny pink spots on his skin.
Symptoms typically start eight to 48 hours after contact and last for a day or more, though they can persist for more than a week, and the bacteria can continue to exist in the body for months. Two-thirds of patients with Salmonella are under 20 years old. In an individual with a compromised immune system, Salmonella can get into the bloodstream and become life threatening.
E. coli is transferred through food or water that’s contaminated with tiny amounts of cow feces. (If an individual has E. coli and does not clean her hands after using the toilet, she can likewise spread it to another individual.) E. coli can cause severe, often bloody diarrhea and painful abdominal cramps, without much of a fever.
There are a number of pressures of Escherichia coli. E. coli 0157: H7 is a particular strain that causes a more severe, longer-lasting health problem. In infants and children, E. coli 0157: H7 can be life threatening and frequently needs hospitalization. Symptoms can start 8 to 48 hours after your child eats a food contaminated with the bacteria and last about two to five days.
Norovirus is likewise called Norwalk-like virus (NLVs) or calicivirus, since it comes from the Caliciviridae virus household. This typical virus isn’t really often identified since a laboratory test for it isn’t really commonly available. Severe vomiting is the hallmark sign, and it usually starts suddenly, about 24 to 48 hours after contact with the virus, although symptoms can appear as early as 12 hours.
The norovirus is transferred through contaminated food, utensils, and surface areas. Because it’s highly contagious, it spreads out quickly in daycare centers and houses. There are numerous pressures of norovirus, so it’s hard to establish immunity to them. A case of norovirus usually disappears by itself in one to two days, however in the meantime you’ll want to make sure that your toddler doesn’t get dehydrated due to the fact that of the vomiting.
Botulism is relatively uncommon– there are only about 110 cases in the United States each year. It’s caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which is found in soil. But it’s most often sent through improperly canned or preserved food, particularly home-canned vegetables, smoked or raw fish, honey, and corn syrup.
Baby botulism occurs when a baby consumes the bacteria or its spores, and they then grow in his intestinal tract. (This is why you must never feed honey to a baby prior 1 year old.) Symptoms of botulism include constipation, weakness, droopy eyelids, and difficulty swallowing. (The child will look out, though, despite his weakness.) Left untreated, botulism can progress to muscle and breathing paralysis. The symptoms typically show up in eight to 36 hours.
When should I call the doctor?
You’ll want to let the doctor know what’s going on as quickly as you suspect your toddler might have food poisoning. She can choose if your child’s symptoms call for an office visit. Inform the doctor about any of the following signs:
- a fever greater than 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
- vomiting for more than three days.
- severe headaches or abdominal pain.
- blood in the stool or vomit.
- a swollen, hard belly.
Likewise call your doctor if your toddler shows any of the timeless signs of dehydration, including reduced urination, excessive sleepiness or fussiness, cool and stained hands and feet, or severe thirst. If this occurs, your child’s doctor might wish to confess him to the medical facility (or simply keep him there for a few hours) for IV rehydration. Don’t be alarmed. Chances are, he’ll be launched and back to his healthy self within a few days’ time.
If you’re worried that your toddler might have food poisoning and your doctor isn’t offered, speak with the doctor on call or take your toddler to the emergency clinic.
If your toddler is having difficulty breathing or swallowing, or shows any signs of severe dehydration, call 911.
What can I do to reduce my toddler’s symptoms?
Assuming your child has a run-of-the-mill case of food poisoning, with vomiting or diarrhea, you’ll want to keep him the home of rest and change the lost fluids and electrolytes (salt and minerals) that his body is losing. Normally, physicians advise giving a non-prescription oral electrolyte service, such as Equalyte or Pedialyte (which is likewise sold as ice pops), by using small sips regularly throughout the day. Your doctor can inform you how much your child needs to be drinking based on his age and weight. (Avoid juices and sodas, however, due to the fact that these might make his symptoms even worse.).
If your child has a fever, you might want to give him the correct dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Never ever give your child aspirin as it makes him more susceptible to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but possibly fatal disease.
When can my toddler return to eating normally?
When your toddler’s vomiting and diarrhea reduces or stops, and his hunger returns, your doctor will likely recommend that you stop offering him the electrolyte service as you slowly reintroduce other fluids, consisting of milk, along with healthful food. Follow your child’s cues– he’ll let you understand when he feels starving.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that children recuperating from stomach troubles resume a typical diet as quickly as possible– one that consists of such staples as complex carbohydrates (like bread, cereal, and rice), lean meat, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables. Keep away from fatty food.
Note that this recommendation is different from the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) that physicians used to recommend. “The BRAT diet used to be very commonly promoted, however we not recommend it due to the fact that it does not have specific important nutrients, such as protein,” says William John Cochran, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Geisinger Clinic in Danville, Pennsylvania.
Studies show that reintroducing a basic diet right after acute symptoms ease can actually reduce the period of a child’s health problem by half a day since it restores necessary nutrients to his system needed to fight infection. On the other hand, if your child misses out on a few days’ worth of excellent nutrition since his disease just kills his hunger, do not worry. Just make sure you keep him hydrated.
How can I help protect my child from contracting food-borne illness once again?
The reality is, it’s impossible to protect your child from all food-borne bacteria. However you can definitely help reduce his chances of exposure using proper cooking practices at home. Try these:.
Constantly wash your hands with warm water and soap before preparing food or after going to the bathroom or helping your child with the potty or altering a diaper. Make sure you help your child clean his hands often as well.
Rinse meat, poultry, and fish thoroughly prior to preparing it, and wash all kitchen surfaces well afterward with hot, sudsy water.
Never put prepared food, like a steak, back on a plate or cutting board that held raw food.
Thaw food in the refrigerator, not on the counter top or in the sink. Do not eat meat, poultry, or fish that has actually been refrigerated raw for more than one or two days.
Don’t use food that looks or smells uncommon.
Do not use out-of-date food, packaged food that has a broken seal, or cans that are dented or misshapen.
Do not leave food outside the fridge for more than an hour before eating or drinking it.
Make sure food is prepared well. Use a meat thermometer: Beef ought to be at least 160 degrees F, poultry a minimum of 180 degrees F, and fish a minimum of 140 degrees F.
When reheating food, make certain to do so completely. (Don’t simply warm it.)
Keep hot food cold and hot food cold before eating it.
Do not give your child unpasteurized milk, juice, or cheese, or raw meat.
If you can your very own produce, follow canning instructions thoroughly.
Buy all meat and fish from trustworthy shops.
When taking a trip out of the country, eat hot, freshly prepared food– not raw vegetables or unpeeled fruit– and drink just water that’s been boiled.
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