Written by Editorial Team
Your little kid has to be taken care of minutely. Carelessness can lead to unwanted situations that cause discomfort to the child and the parents. Food poisoning in children is one such situation that can turn quite troublesome if you don’t pay attention to what your child is eating. Food poisoning in young children is a cause for concern since they have an immature immune system and may not be capable of fighting off strong forms of food poisoning.
As a parent, you take every step to ensure that your child is protected and comfortable. Even after that, if your child gets food poisoning, then what will you do? In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about food poisoning and how you can prevent it for your little one.
Food poisoning is often the result of a bacterial infection. Sometimes, it can also happen due to viruses and germs. These microbes can get into the food you eat and drink and result in your falling sick. It is almost impossible to see or feel the germs.
Despite their microscopic size, they can have a huge negative effect on health. When these germs get into food, they release toxins, which are poisonous and can lead to diarrhea or vomiting. In certain cases, food poisoning can lead to dehydration too.
The signs and symptoms of food poisoning in the affected child can start anywhere from an hour to three days after eating contaminated or undercooked food. However, the appearance, duration, and intensity of the symptoms will vary from one child to another.
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 poisoning can turn out to be even more serious.
The symptoms of food poisoning depend on the causative germs. Once a child eats contaminated food, they will start to feel sick within one or two hours. However, there are cases when they 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 symptoms your child could be having are mentioned below:
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. Following are top reasons that bring about food poisoning in children:
The contamination of food can happen at various stages of food production. For instance:
Following germs are more often responsible for food poisoning in children:
Salmonella can contaminate animal products and vegetables as well. Proper cleaning and cooking are essential to avoid getting food poisoning from salmonella.
This type of food poisoning happens from contaminated food and water, especially undercooked meat. Children are especially susceptible to E.coli poisoning due to an immature digestive system. Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms in this kind of food poisoning.
Listeria is contamination that often grows and multiplies in refrigerator conditions. Deli meats and unpasteurized milk are the most common sources of this type of contamination. Diarrhea, fever, and muscle aches are the common symptoms.
This bacterium grows and thrives in undercooked food and also spreads through contaminated water. Symptoms are similar to gastroenteritis.
Staph food poisoning is one of the most common types of food poisoning and can be risky because cooking the contaminated food cannot get rid of the toxins. Undercooked and cold meats can carry these bacteria. The bacteria multiply quite quickly and food handlers who do not wash their hands and utensils properly can spread the bacteria to many people.
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 child 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:
Apart from these, keep a closer eye on the signs of dehydration such as:
Also, if your family has returned home recently from a foreign trip and your kid has had diarrhea since then, you should not wait to call your doctor.
The doctor will first ask what your kid had eaten since the time the child was getting the symptoms. The doctors will then take a sample of the kid’s urine, stool, or blood and send it to a lab for testing. This will help the doctor zero in on the cause of the situation.
Generally, food poisoning in children gets better with time. However, in some severe cases, they may be put on antibiotics by the doctor. In worst cases of food poisoning and dehydration, your child may need to be hospitalized and given intravenous fluids to bring the situation under control.
Food poisoning will go away with time. In the meantime, make sure your child:
Never give OTC anti-diarrhea medicines to your child. This will aggravate the food poisoning symptoms. Self-medication may not be safe. When in doubt, always consult your doctor.
A few tips and measures will help your child and the rest of your family away from food poisoning.
When you see your child getting affected by food poisoning, contact your doctor immediately to cure it and give some respite to your little one. Most cases of food poisoning tend to be mild and go away with time and a few precautions. However, moderate to severe cases will need immediate medical intervention.
Food poisoning in children may begin within hours, days, or sometimes even weeks after the child eats the contaminated food. Most food poisoning symptoms last anywhere between a few hours to several days.
The symptoms of food poisoning are determined by the source of contamination. Children who have food poisoning might exhibit the following symptoms:
Food poisoning can make you feel ill within an hour or two. On the other hand, there are cases in which the symptoms may not appear after a couple of weeks.
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