A doctor has revealed a seemingly ‘harmless’ food that could be deadly to infants – and how consuming less than a spoonful can cause paralysis, nerve damage and even death.
Honey is deadly for children under one year old because it can cause infant botulism – a serious illness caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.
It is caused by spores that normally live dormant in soil and dust, but can occasionally enter 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 heartbreaking story of a two-month-old infant who apparently developed medical problems overnight, despite being exclusively breastfed.
A doctor has revealed a seemingly ‘harmless’ food that is deadly to 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.
Doctors noted low muscle tone and the baby was admitted to hospital, but he quickly developed seizures, chest infections and difficulty breathing.
Dr Sam explained: “The medical team carried out a wide range of tests but could not find the underlying problem. The baby was transferred to the intensive care unit and doctors began discussing end-of-life care with the parents.
“All seemed lost – until they sent his stools for analysis and discovered Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria that produces a toxin that paralyzes muscles.”
The doctor revealed that raw and processed honey contains 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 one year old, but a younger baby’s gut is not developed enough to fight off the bacteria.
“The spores entered the baby’s intestine and reproduced, causing havoc and ultimately resulting in infant botulism,” said Dr Sam. “Luckily, the baby was treated and was discharged after spending a month to the hospital.”
The doctor also revealed that raw and processed honey contains the bacteria. This is why honey comes with a warning not to give it to infants under one year old.
What do you need to know about infant botulism?
What is botulism?
A serious illness that causes paralysis, nerve damage, and eventually death.
It is caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, a germ normally dormant in soil and dust that can enter honey.
Is honey safe?
Not for children under one year old. A younger baby’s intestine is not developed enough to fight bacteria. The disease can be fatal in five to ten percent of cases.
What are the symptoms ?
Constipation, inability to breastfeed, poor diet, drooping head and muscles, drooping eyelids, fatigue, difficulty breathing.
What constitutes another risk?
Earth, dust, herbal teas, homeopathic treatments, turtles, preserves, homemade candied fruits, vegetables or meats.
Source: Healthdirect Australia
Many thanked Dr. Sam for his health advice and for saving them from making a deadly mistake.
“Thank you for your knowledge. I hope this helps other parents,” one woman said.
“My doctor specifically told me not to give my child honey until the age of two,” another wrote.
“How terrifying – luckily the baby turned out okay,” said a third.