Children Food Poisoning; Things that You Should Do

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Food poisoning is a type of gastroenteritis caused by food which has been contaminated by poison, usually bacteria. Depending to the poison’s type, abdominal spasm, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea will happen within 3 to 24 hours. If food has been contaminated by bacteria, bacteria will produce a poison which is known as toxin. Toxin provides a direct impact to intestinal layer and causes inflammation. There are various types of bacteria causing food poisoning but the usual ones are salmonella, shigella, staphylococcus and E. coli are a major cause of food poisoning among babies, especially babies who bottle suckling.

For food poisoning that been caused by non bacterial material, sign of diseases also emerged if child accidentally ate chemical, insecticide or several type of plant.

Is this a serious situation?

For baby, this is serious because signs of disease which followed could cause dehydration.


  • Muscle spasm.
  • Fever.
  • Often defecate. Feces diluted and may be accompanied by blood, pus or mucus.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weak muscles and body feels cold.
  • Anorexia (loss of appetite).

What is the first action?

  1. If the child vomits and experiences diarrhoea, check body temperature to determine whether the child is fevering.
  2. Check feces to determine whether there has been blood or pus.
  3. Let the child lain on the bed and do not give any food but make sure he/she often drinks water which have been added a pinch of salt and 5ml of glucose.
  4. Try to determine the food eaten by the child that had caused the illness.

Do I need to see a doctor?

Bring the child to see doctor immediately if the child vomits or continuously having diarrhoea for over six hours. The situation could not be controlled through liquid nutrition only. Bring child to see doctor immediately if child condition still do not recovered within 24 hours, or you suspect the child have drank insecticide or ate poisonous plants. Bring the poison together with you.

What are the doctor actions?

  • Usually, food poisoning needs no specific treatment except giving fluid and salt that have been much lost through diarrhoea and vomiting. Doctor maybe will give a type of powder containing glucose and salt to add in drinks. For baby who suckles by bottle, stop giving milk.
  • If the child experience dehydration, doctor would admit the child into hospital so fluid can be given intravenously. If child experience severe vomiting, doctor might give the child antiemetic drug injection to stop the vomiting.

How can I help?

  • Put a bucket/container in edge of the bed so your child does not need to walk to the toilet.
  • If your child has fever, use ice pack or damp face towel to freshen your child.
  • If your child is vomiting, help him/her to gargle with water.
  • Focus on cleanliness. Food poisoning is easily infectious. Therefore, make sure your child always washed her/his hands every time he/she went to the toilet. Wash your hands after changing your child diaper.
  • To avoid food poisoning, put cooked food into refrigerator. When this food is reheated, make sure to do this fully. Living Salmonella breed in warm food but will die at high temperatures.
  • If your child refused to drink adequate water or did not like the special powder taste, give the child watermelon chops with ketchup. They contain potassium and sodium.
  • Melt frozen food completely before being cooked, especially meat. Make sure the meat is cooked enough.
  • Give child foods that can be digested easily like mushiness, yogurt, jelly and non-fatty foods once the child starts wanting to eat. Usually the disease effect will disappear in a week period.
  • Follow doctor directive for restart giving infant formula milk that uses bottle.
  • Check foods eaten by the child 24 hours before. Dump any foods that could become food poisoning cause such as meat, fish, milky food material or bread.

Remember, focus on cleanliness and food preparation and storage.

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