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A doctor has revealed one seemingly ‘harmless’ food that could be fatal for infants – and how consuming less than a spoonful of it can cause paralysis, nerve damage, and even death.
Honey is lethal for children under the age of one because it can result in infantile botulism – a serious illness caused by bacteria clostridium botulinum.
It is caused by spores that normally live in a dormant form in soil and dust, but can occasionally get into honey.
If the spores enter a baby’s intestine they can grow and produce a toxin that causes infant botulism, symptoms of which include muscle weakness, breathing problems and constipation.
Dr Sam, from Singapore, shared the heart-wrenching story of a two-month-old infant who seemingly developed medical problems overnight despite being exclusively breastfed.
A doctor has revealed one seemingly ‘harmless’ food that is fatal for infants – and how consuming less than a spoonful of it can cause paralysis, nerve damage, and even death
The baby suddenly stopped drinking milk and went completely limp when held up.
Doctors found poor muscle tone and the baby was admitted to the hospital but soon developed seizures, chest infections, and difficulty breathing.
Dr Sam explained, ‘The medical team ran a wide spectrum of tests but couldn’t find the underlying problem – the baby was moved to the ICU and the doctors started to discuss end of life care with the parents.
‘All seemed lost – until they sent his stool for testing and and found clostridium botulinum, a bacteria which produces a toxin that paralyses muscle.’
The doctor revealed that both raw and processed honey contain the bacteria
Further investigation found that the parents had dipped the baby’s pacifier in honey to make it more appealing to him.
Honey is safe for children over the age of one, but a younger baby’s gut is not sufficiently developed to fight off the bacteria.
‘The spores entered the baby’s gut and reproduced – wrecking havoc and eventually resulting in infantile botulism,’ Dr Sam said. ‘Thankfully the baby was treated and discharged after spending a month in the hospital.’
The doctor also revealed that both raw and processed honey contain the bacteria – which is why honey comes with a warning not to feed it to infants under one year of age.
What do you need to know about infantile botulism?
What is botulism?
A serious illness that results in paralysis, nerve damage, and possible death.
It is caused by bacteria clostridium botulinum – a germ normally dormant in soil and dust which can get into honey.
Is honey safe?
Not for children under one. A younger baby’s gut is not sufficiently developed to fight off bacteria. The condition can be fatal in five to ten per cent of cases.
What are symptoms?
Constipation, inability to suck, poor feeding, floppy head and muscles, droopy eyelids, tiredness, difficulty breathing.
What else is a risk?
Soil, dust, herbal teas, homeopathic treatments, terrapins, canned foods, home preserved fruit, vegetables, or meat.
Source: Healthdirect Australia
Many thanked Dr Sam for his health advice and preventing them from making a deadly mistake.
‘Thank you for your knowledge – I hope it helps other parents,’ a woman said.
‘My doctor specifically told me not to give my child any honey until he was two years old,’ another wrote.
‘How terrifying – thankfully the baby turned out okay,’ a third said.