Signs and symptoms of botulism in infants, toddlers & adults

Before you learn about symptoms of botulism, you had better understand what botulism is. In fact, botulism is a rare yet serious condition resulted by toxins from bacteria called Clostridium botulinum.

This disorder comes in different forms, with 3 major forms, which are:

• Infant botulism

• Food-borne botulism

• Wound botulism

Fact is, all types of botulism could be fatal and are considered medical emergencies.

Symptoms of botulism
Symptoms of botulism

Common Symptoms Of Botulism

All the symptoms of botulism are the consequence of nerve paralysis during exposure to the toxin. Normally, those symptoms start in one or two days after consuming contaminated food. The symptoms of infant botulism along with wound botulism appear rather suddenly. The followings are some most common typical symptoms of botulism in different forms:

Food-borne Botulism

It is said that signs and symptoms of food-borne botulism primarily start between 18-36 hours after the toxin breaks into the human body, yet could range from several hours to a few days, basing on the amount of toxin taken. Symptoms of food-borne botulism contain:

• Dry mouth

• Trouble speaking or swallowing

• Facial weakness on all sides of the face

• Double or blurred vision

• Difficulty breathing

• Drooping eyelids

• Vomiting, nausea, and abdominal cramps

• Paralysis

Wound Botulism

The majority of people who suffer from wound botulism inject drugs a few times per day, so it is hard to determine how long it actually takes for the symptoms to grow after the entrance of toxins into the body. Especially, those people who inject black tar heroin might appear some symptoms of botulism below:

• Double or blurred vision

• Facial weakness on sides of the face

• Trouble speaking or swallowing

• Drooping eyelids

• Paralysis

• Difficulty in breathing

Infant Botulism

Normally, if infant botulism is related to food like honey, the problems will start within 16-36 hours after the entrance of toxins into the body of the baby. Symptoms of infant botulism contain:

• Irritability

• Drooling

• Weak cry

• Floppy movements because of difficulty controlling the head and muscle weakness

• Constipation

• Drooping eyelids

• Fatigue or tiredness

• Trouble sucking or feeding

• Paralysis

There are some certain less-known signs and symptoms of botulism, such as no elevation in blood pressure or heart rate, no fever or no confusion. Nevertheless, fever sometimes is associated with wound botulism. [Read: best home food safety tips]

How To Prevent Botulism?

You could prevent food-borne botulism with careful techniques to handle foods.

• Upon home canning, you should use a pressure cooker that could reach temperature enough to kill botulism spores. Preserved food need to be heated above 248 0 F or 1200 C for no less than 5 minutes during the canning process. Some foods like jellies or jams, do not require a pressure cooker as their high sugar level makes it hard for the Clostridium botulinum bacteria to develop.

• Avoid eating or storing cooked foods staying at room temperature for over 4 hours

• Avoid eating or even tasting canned goods from a jar which presents a bulging lid or a bad odor

• Avoid leaving foil-wrapped baked potatoes at the room temperature. Instead, serve them hot or refrigerated

• Avoid storing chopped onion or garlic in oil at the room temperature

• For those home-canned veggies and fish, you should boil them first for about 10 minutes using frequent stirring. That way, the botulinum toxin which has been produced in storage will be damaged.

• Avoid feeding corn syrup or honey to the infants less than 1 year old.

In conclusion, to prevent wound botulism, you should not use recreational injected drugs.