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Botulism: symptoms, causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Botulism is a very rare but severe food poisoning. It is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which affects the nervous system and can be fatal if the diagnosis is delayed. It is spread by contamination of a wound with the bacteria or by ingesting food contaminated with the toxin. The latter is the most frequent; it usually appears in poorly canned or poorly preserved foods.

When eating food infected with the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, symptoms usually appear between 12 and 36 hours later but can also seem a few days later. No matter how much food is eaten with this bacteria, even if it is minor, it can cause Botulism and serious. For this reason, at FastlyHealwe explain the symptoms, causes, and treatment of Botulism.

Botulism symptoms

There are three types of Botulism depending on the predominant symptoms, the route of transmission, and the person who suffers it. It is important to note that the most significant complication in all types of Botulism is that muscle weakness affects the respiratory muscles, so it is essential to consult a doctor when any of the symptoms appear.

The different types of Botulism and their symptoms can be:

1. Botulism by ingestion: depending on the amount of toxin that has been ingested, the symptoms may appear between 12 and 36 hours after having ingested the food infected with the bacterium Clostridium botulinum or take more than four days. The symptoms are:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Muscular weakness.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Inconvenient to breathe.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
  • Double vision and droopy eyelids.

2. Infant botulism: symptoms take longer to appear than in adults and can be:

  • Constipation.
  • Slow or stop breathing
  • Droopy eyelids.
  • The problem is holding their head up.
  • Difficulty breastfeeding.
  • Weak cry

3. Wound botulism: It is a rare form of Botulism; it is not well known how long it takes for symptoms to appear. These are very similar to this pathology by ingestion, but the progression may be much faster.

Causes of Botulism

The causes of this disease will depend on the type of Botulism that develops:

  • Ingestion Botulism: it happens when consuming food contaminated by the toxin Clostridium botulinum, which grows and reproduces in poorly canned or undercooked foods. After ingestion, the digestive system absorbs this toxin and directly damages the central nervous system. The most susceptible foods to cause Botulism by ingestion are undercooked hot dogs, dairy products, smoked meats, and homemade canned fruits and vegetables.
  • Infant botulism: one of the most significant risk factors for children under one year of age is the intake of raw honey or other uncooked foods. The principal risks of Botulism in infants are dairy products, meat, which can be raw inside, and homemade canned foods, such as green beans, which are the most easily contaminated vegetables.
  • Wound botulism: This happens when Clostridium botulinum bacteria enter a wound and multiply. Although it is the least frequent pathology in Botulism, in recent years, it has increased considerably in people who inject heroin or some other drug, which may contain spores of the bacteria.

Treatment for Botulism

Consultation with a professional is essential to help combat botulism. Generally, a medicine called botulinum antitoxin is used, which fights the toxin made by the bacteria C. botulinum.

Remember that it is a curable disease if it is diagnosed in time, but hospital care is urgently needed when it comes to having difficulty breathing. In that case, you will likely be given a pathway for oxygen through a tube in your nose or mouth. Instead, those who have difficulty swallowing may receive intravenous therapy or, in other cases, a tube may be inserted for feeding.

Correct treatment reduces the risk of death, so it is essential to see a doctor when you have any symptoms. Once the disease is advanced, there are different complications such as problems in the nervous system for a year or more, prolonged weakness, respiratory distress, infections, and pneumonia. Therefore, it is essential to identify the pathology in time.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Botulism: symptoms, causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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