I know that when it comes to food poisoning, most of us think of stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
However, fortunately, food poisoning does not happen as often as you go swimming in the summer. Numerous surveys and studies have shown that symptoms of nausea and diarrhea in children are mainly caused by simple viral infections in public places such as schools, kindergartens or parks.
However, please do not be subjective with food poisoning because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about 76 million people in the United States suffer from it every year. Most of these people are mild, but about 325,000 people are hospitalized, and 5,000 unlucky people die. The numbers are alarming.
We all know that young children have the weak immune and digestive system, so they are at risk of severe food poisoning or even life-threatening cases because of this problem. And we, their parents, need to equip ourselves with ways to recognize and prevent food poisoning. The information below will help you do that and become great fathers and mothers.
What Are Common Symptoms Of Food Poisoning?
According to the doctors, the symptoms of food poisoning depend on its causes and the patient health conditions. However, most patients suffer from some common symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and abdominal cramps. They can attack the patients within hours or even days after the patient eats contaminated food, depending on the cause.
If the patients become infected with E. coli O157, they will experience symptoms such as bloody diarrhea. In addition, patients will have some serious complications such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) or fever if they are infected with salmonella.
Toxins, especially with botulism, will cause neurotoxic symptoms which can cause death, including double vision and dysphagia, trouble talking, and dyspnoea.
What Are Common Causes Of Food Poisoning?
The common thing is that most patients suffer from food poisoning but never know about the cause of this problem. It is difficult to diagnose food poisoning because there are many things that can cause it, including viruses, bacteria, parasites, and toxins. More specifically, they are:
- coli O157
- Hepatitis A
- Giardia lamblia
- Norwalk-like viruses
- Vibrio vulnificus
- Clostridium botulinum (produces toxins botulinum toxin)
- Staphylococcus aureus (produces a staphylococcus toxin)
How To Correctly Diagnose Food Poisoning?
Often, finding a symptom pattern, such as family members getting sick immediately after eating at the same restaurant, is the easiest way to diagnose food poisoning. In addition, stool culture can also help identify parasites or bacteria causing symptoms of this problem. In some cases, fecal testing can also determine the exact cause of food poisoning.
How To Treat Food Poisoning?
The method for treating vomiting and diarrhea caused by a stomach virus is to prevent dehydration, and for food poisoning is the same.
What about antibiotics? When it comes to diseases caused by viruses, many people think of taking this drug. However, according to the doctors, antibiotics are often unnecessary or useful for most cases of food poisoning. In fact, it only really works for some serious infections, such as shigellosis (Shigella infection) and parasitic food poisoning.
Therefore, it is best to see a pediatrician if you think your child has food poisoning, especially if he or she is experiencing symptoms such as high fever, diarrhea, dehydration, or if the problem persists for too long without any sign of deterioration.
How To Prevent Food Poisoning?
As we have mentioned above, food poisoning is difficult to diagnose and can have serious consequences, so it is essential to apply early preventive measures. The notes below will help your child and his / her food be safe:
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with sterilized soap before preparing and serving your child’s foods.
- Cook all kinds of food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, and eggs. It is best not to let your child eat raw and medium-rare foods.
- Separate utensils for raw and cooked food. Clean kitchen utensils and surfaces with hot water and disinfectant soap.
- Cool leftover food as soon as possible. Make sure your refrigerator is no more than 40 degrees F, and your freezer is 0 F or lower.
- Do not let your children drink unpasteurized milk and juices.
- If you suspect that some of the foods in your home are contaminated or expired, remove them.
- For more information about foods that may easily be contaminated, read the FDA carefully.
Things You May Not Know About Food Poisoning
- Most foods can be contaminated and cause food poisoning. However, some are considered to be at higher risk, including unpasteurized milk and other dairy products, raw meats and poultry, raw shellfish, and deli-prepared salads.
- Foods can be contaminated in many ways, including being grown with contaminated water, improperly processed or cross-contamination.
- Many foods may be contaminated although they have no strange color and odor.
- Do not let infants under 12 months of age consume honey because it can be a source of poisonous Clostridium botulinum spores.