Food poisoning in kids
When a child says that it has a stomachache – “What did you eat today?” is the first question that comes to mind for excited parents. And it is right. If you succeed to track the whole chronology of eating, you can understand the true cause of discomfort and pain.
The most common reason for abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting is food poisoning. But these are not all symptoms that our body uses to show that it is infected. In this article, we will talk about food poisoning in children at different periods of life; how to act in such situations, and general recommendations.
Symptoms of food poisoning in kids
Infants, children of preschool age, and schoolchildren are the group of children who are most exposed to food poisoning. This is due to a weak immune system and the inability of the body to resist toxic substances. Unwashed hands (including vegetables, fruits) and common-use dishes or toys – not following the rules of personal hygiene are the most common reasons for food poisoning in children.
The intoxication process begins when bacteria enter our bodies. In other words, the bacteria get into a favorable environment and begin to multiply. Over time, the products of their vital functions begin to poison the body. Usually, the whole process of accumulation of toxins lasts from 4 to 6 hours and then your child begins to feel the first signs of poisoning. The main symptoms of food poisoning in children:
- dullness and weakness
- unpleasant and painful feelings in the stomach
- a sharp rise in temperature (up to 38℃ and above)
- nausea and vomiting (which may not stop for 5 minutes)
- liquid stool (can be with unopened pieces of food, diarrhea with an admixture of mucus)
All these processes are accompanied by total dehydration of the child’s body and it is extremely dangerous at a young age. Food poisoning in infants, which is accompanied by the loss of 10% of fluid of the total body weight can be fatal.
Food poisoning breastfeeding
Perhaps you are the mother of a baby who was poisoned and you don’t know how to continue feeding the child. It all depends on whether you use breast milk or if your baby eats milk mixture.
So, if your baby is breastfed, you need to temporarily stop feeding your baby with your milk and replace it with chilled (boiled) water. When the condition stabilizes, you can resume the usual way of feeding.
If the baby eats formula, you need to pause for 8-12 hours and then use sour milk mixes and add some boiled rice. When the stool is normalized, you can add meat, fruits, and vegetables to your child’s daily diet.
Can a baby get food poisoning through breast milk?
Also, some pediatricians say the opposite. That a mother shouldn’t stop breastfeeding after poisoning. On the contrary, a mother should continue to breastfeed the child with milk. Bacteria that caused the poisoning don’t penetrate into breast milk, so you have nothing to worry about. Breast milk contains antibodies that will protect the baby from harmful infections (thus, children have immunity).
Food poisoning treatment children
Food poisoning in babies (especially if the child is less than 1 year old) is considered the most dangerous. Therefore, if you notice similar symptoms of poisoning (which we mentioned above), you should immediately call an ambulance. The poisoning can be severe and require inpatient treatment.
This type of poisoning includes botulism bacteria that can be found in meat (fish), canned foods, vegetables and in the ground. Children who don’t wash their hands after playing in the sandbox may bring the botulinum bacteria while eating or licking their fingers.
Before the doctors arrive, you can start the treatment process by replenishing the lost liquid. Drink your child with glucose solution or tea.
Doctors don’t recommend using home remedies for food poisoning in children. Only after examination and a complete anamnesis doctor will be able to prescribe the right medications. They mainly use enterosorbents that absorb toxins and cleanse the body of dangerous substances.
Any symptoms and signs of poisoning is an urgent reason to consult a doctor, even if you think that the situation is not critical.