Food poisoning is considered serious to everybody, but young children are at higher risk to become very ill and end up dehydrated. Due to the high risk of young children to food poisoning, parents should be concerned about spotting the signs of food poisoning and the necessary steps to take if it is suspected.
Symptoms of food poisoning
Food poisoning can be difficult to differentiate from other illnesses especially the stomach problems caused by other viruses. Young children are too young to communicate what they feel and could not immediately tell what they actually feel. If others who have eaten the same food as the toddler became sick, it is likely caused by food poisoning. The symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. Other symptoms that can accompany food poisoning include chills, fever and even headaches.
Duration of the illness
The symptoms of food poisoning usually manifest between 2-28 hours after the toddler has consumed the contaminated food. Take note that food poisoning typically lasts only for 1-2 days. In severe cases, the toddler can become sick for a week or even longer.
Common causes of food poisoning
Toddlers can acquire food poisoning in various ways. The most common is being in contact with undercooked or raw meat or poultry and then putting their hands in their mouth or eating the foods directly. Foods that are eaten from jars or cans with dents that have loose lids or food that has been in room temperature for several hours, especially those that contains meat or mayonnaise can cause food poisoning. Even unpasteurized cheeses and milk should be avoided.
This is the reason why prevention is important so that food poisoning can be prevented. Proper hygienic measures must be observed such as washing hands before eating, proper preparation of food and correct cooking methods.
Diagnosing and treating food poisoning
In case food poisoning is suspected, it is best to call a doctor right away. The doctor will ask if the toddler has fever, blood present in the vomit or stool as well as the frequency and severity of diarrhea and vomiting. In common cases of food poisoning, the ideal treatment is rest and fluids such as juice or water.
The doctor might even recommend the replacement of electrolytes such as Pedialyte. If the toddler has a fever, acetaminophen or ibuprofen are given to bring the fever down temporarily and help with the body aches. In severe cases, the doctor might recommend the hospitalization of the toddler for close monitoring as well as the replacement of fluids intravenously.
Always remember that if the toddler becomes sick with food poisoning unexpectedly or becomes very sick and dehydrated, it is best to call for emergency assistance or bring the toddler to the emergency room at the nearest hospital just to be safe.