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Food Poisoning In Children: Everything Parents Need To Be Aware Of

4 min read

Your little toddler has to be taken care of minutely. Otherwise, he or she could face many dreadful situations, which can cause severe discomfort. One such situation is food poisoning. If you don’t pay attention to what your child is eating, then it can cause food poisoning. As a parent, you would look to provide every possible comfort to your child. Even after that, if your child gets food poisoning, then what will you do? Therefore, in this article, let’s discuss everything you need to know about food poisoning and how you can prevent it for your baby.

Food poisoning

What Is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is the result of the bacterial reaction. Sometimes, it can also be the result of some viruses and other types of germs. These microbuses can get into the food one eats and drinks. It is almost impossible to see or feel the germs. Even though you cannot see or feel them, these germs have a huge effect on your body.  When these germs get into the food, they release toxins, which are poisons and one of the main reasons for diarrhea or vomiting. Also, many people face the problem of food poisoning due to dehydration. Dehydration is the most common and serious issue behind food poisoning.

Food Poisoning Timeline

The signs and symptoms of food poisoning in the child can starts anywhere from an hour to three days after eating contaminated or undercooked food. However, the appearance, duration, and intensity of the symptoms will vary with the child. It depends on the immunity level and health conditions of the child, and the amount and kind of pathogen involved. If the child is experiencing certain health conditions like renal issues and sickle cell anemia, food poison can bring about more serious health issues.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms Of Food Poisoning?

The symptoms of food poisoning depend on the germ behind it. Once a person eats contaminated food, then he or she will start to feel sick within one or two hours. However, there are cases when you may not feel sick for many weeks after eating contaminated food. But, in general, the symptoms will start appearing within one and a half weeks. Some of the symp toms your child could be having are mentioned below:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Weakness

What Causes Food Poisoning?

What Causes Food Poisoning

When someone eats or drinks contaminated food, he or she is bound to get food poisoning. Animal foods get contaminated quite often. However, eating unwashed vegetables and food can also be a reason for food poisoning. Many people also eat raw foods, only get food poisoning. Even contaminated water can be a reason for food poisoning. The contamination of food can happen at various stages of food production. For instance:

  • Poultry or meat getting in contact with germs during shipping or processing.
  • When foods are stored at the wrong temperature, it can get infected by germs.
  • Not washing the hand properly before cooking to unclean utensils can cause food poisoning.
  • Undercooked food
  • Cross-contamination

What Germs Cause Food Poisoning?

  • Salmonella: Salmonella could cause food poisoning through animal foods and the vegetables which are eaten without washing it properly.
  • Coli (Escherichia coli): E. coli causes food poisoning when after the food gets in contact with the animal feces.
  • Listeria: Listeria causes food poisoning by contaminating animal foods and processed foods.
  • Campylobacter: Animal food is contaminated by Campylobacter. The most general cause for this is the food coming in contact with animal feces.
  • Staphylococcus aureus: These bacteria contaminate animal foods mainly. When vegetables come in contact with the contaminated animal foods, they also get contaminated.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

In general, food poisoning will not even require a doctor’s attention to get treated. However, there are some conditions where you need to take your baby to a doctor. One of the most common reasons for which you may have to take your kids to a doctor is diarrhea.  The symptoms that will indicate that your child needs a doctor’s attention are the following:

  • Vomiting periodically for more than 12 hours
  • Facing diarrhea along with a high fever of 101oF
  • Blood during vomiting and pooping
  • Fast heartbeat

Apart from these, keep a closer eye on the signs of dehydration such as:

  • Lack of urine
  • Frequent and extreme thirst
  • Weakness or light-headedness
  • Dizziness

Also, if your family has return home recently from a foreign trip and your baby has diarrhea since then, you should not wait to call your doctor.

How Is Food Poisoning Diagnosed?

The doctor will first ask what your baby had eaten since the time he or she is getting the symptoms. The doctors will then take a sample of the baby’s urine, stool, or blood and send it to a lab for testing. After that, the doctor will find out the exact cause of the situation.

How Is Food Poisoning Treated?

Food Poisoning Treated

Food Poisoning Treated

Generally, kids get better with time while facing food poisoning. However, in some severe cases, he or she might require the prescribed antibiotics of the doctor. If your child is suffering from severe dehydration, then he or she needs to be treated in a hospital through intravenous fluids.

At-Home Care

Food poisoning will go away with time. In the meantime, make sure your child gets:

  • A good amount of rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids, preferably as small, frequent sips.
  • Avoid dairy and solid foods

Never give OTC anti-diarrhoea medicines to your child. This will aggravate the food poison symptoms.

How Can We Prevent Food Poisoning?

Follow the below-mentioned tips to keep food poisoning for your family members at bay:

  • Wash hands properly
  • Clean the utensils
  • Don’t serve unpasteurized milk
  • Avoid eating raw vegetables
  • Keep raw food away from cooked ones.
  • Eliminate the chances of cross-contamination
  • Make sure the eggs are properly cooked before serving to child
  • Never encourage child eating from roadside vendors

When you see your baby getting affected by food poisoning, contact your doctor immediately to cure it and give some respite to the baby.

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