As adults, we’ve all been victims of food poisoning at least once in our life. It is caused due to contamination of food or water and the contamination agents are usually different types of bacteria. Food poisoning in babies is so much worse because they can’t express with words that their little tummy hurts.
The symptoms include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, fussiness, and fever. These symptoms usually show up 2 days after having the contaminated food. They can last for just a day or go on for a couple of weeks. Because of similar symptoms, Food poisoning is not to be confused with a stomach virus which is picked up by the hands and transferred to the mouth.
To identify the bacteria, your baby’s stool or blood may be checked. But no matter what kind of bacteria it is, the treatment is the same. But if there’s blood in the stool, it might be an indication that the food poisoning is caused due to a dangerous bacteria like E.coli.
When to call the doctor?
You’ll have to consult with your doctor as soon as you see any or all of the above symptoms and suspect that your baby might have food poisoning. Also look out for any signs of dehydrations such as lack of tears, not urinating often, dark colour of the urine, lethargy and a parched mouth and tongue. You may have to get your baby admitted to the hospital if this persists, but there’s nothing to be worried about. She will be kept in the hospital for a few hours until she’s completely rehydrated.
What can you do?
If your baby is breastfed or bottle-fed, then continue to do so. Your doctor might also suggest an electrolyte solution to replace the fluids that your baby is losing. The quantity to be consumed will also be specified by the doctor based on your baby’s age and weight.
If you notice that your baby has a fever then don’t give him/her any over-the-counter medicines or aspirin. The dosage and the medicine type also varies, so ask your doctor about it and do as specified.
Your baby will slowly go back to the way he was before he had a food poisoning. There’s no way of guessing how long that'll take. But by noticing subtle signs like hunger and less fussiness you’ll be able to start introducing solid foods (if your baby had already started weaning) back into your infant’s diet.
How to avoid food poisoning?
Although it is not completely possible to prevent foodborne illness, there are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of contracting one.
1. Wash and sanitize your hands often especially before preparing food for your baby and after changing dirty nappies.
2. Rinse vegetables and meat thoroughly before cooking them and also make sure to keep the kitchen area clean.
3. Always check the expiry date of packaged foods and if you find the food even a little bit funny smelling then do not use it.
4. Hot food is meant to be eaten hot and cold food is meant to be had cold. So stick to it, as much as possible.