A doctor has revealed a seemingly “harmless” food that could be fatal to young children – and how eating less than a spoonful of it can cause paralysis, nerve damage and even death.
Honey is fatal to children under one year old as it can cause illness infantile botulism – a serious illness caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
It is caused by spores that usually rest in the soil and dust, but can occasionally find their way into honey.
If the spores enter a baby’s intestines, they can grow and produce a toxin that causes infant botulism. Symptoms include muscle weakness, breathing problems and constipation.
Dr. Sam from Singapore shared the heartbreaking story of a two-month-old infant who developed medical problems seemingly overnight, despite being exclusively breastfed.
A doctor has revealed a seemingly “harmless” food that is deadly to infants – and how eating less than a spoonful of it can cause paralysis, nerve damage and even death
The baby suddenly stopped drinking milk and became completely limp when held up.
Doctors discovered poor muscle tone and the baby was rushed to hospital, but soon developed seizures, chest infections and difficulty breathing.
Dr. Sam explained: “The medical team carried out a wide range of tests but were unable to find the underlying problem – the baby was transferred to intensive care and doctors began speaking to the parents about end-of-life care.”
“All seemed lost – until they sent his stool for examination and found Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria that produces a toxin that paralyzes muscles.”
The doctor found that both raw and processed honey contain the bacteria
Further investigation revealed that the parents had dipped the baby’s pacifier in honey to make it more attractive.
Honey is safe for children over a year old, but a younger baby’s intestines are not yet sufficiently developed to fight off the bacteria.
“The spores entered the baby’s intestines and multiplied – causing havoc and eventually leading to infantile botulism,” said Dr. Sam. “Thankfully the baby was treated and discharged after spending a month in hospital.”
The doctor also noted that both raw and processed honey contain the bacteria – which is why honey comes with a warning not to feed the honey to infants under one year old.
What do you need to know about infantile botulism?
What is botulism?
A serious illness that causes paralysis, nerve damage and possibly death.
It is caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum – a germ that normally lies dormant in soil and dust and can get into honey.
Is honey safe?
Not for children under one year old. A younger baby’s intestines are not sufficiently developed to fight off bacteria. In five to ten percent of cases, the disease can be fatal.
What are symptoms?
Constipation, inability to suck, poor diet, sagging head and muscles, drooping eyelids, fatigue, difficulty breathing.
What else is a risk?
Earth, dust, herbal teas, homeopathic treatments, terrapins, canned goods, home-made fruit, vegetables or meat.
Source: Healthdirect Australia
Many thanked Dr. Sam for his health advice and for saving her from making a fatal mistake.
“Thank you for your knowledge – I hope it helps other parents,” said one woman.
“My doctor specifically told me not to give my child honey until he is two years old,” wrote another.
“How frightening – thankfully the baby turned out well,” said a third.