Signs of food poisoning in a child
Food poisoning is a complex of pathological symptoms that occur when eating poor-quality or poisonous foods.
Doctors sometimes use the term “toxicoinfection”, which combines the causes of the disease (poisoning): the defeat of toxins, the defeat of the body with bacteria and a mixed version.
Causes of food poisoning
The term "poor quality product" is understood as an ordinary daily food product, which for some reason has become a danger for eating.
Here are the following options:
- the expiration date of the product has expired (the processes of decay and decomposition lead to the accumulation of toxins hazardous to health);
- the contamination of the fresh product with harmful bacteria (for example, on unwashed fruits one can often find E. coli, on the shell of salmonella eggs);
- the defeat of the fresh product with bacterial toxins (in violation of the technology of making creams, staphylococcal toxins can get into them).
The second group combines quite a few dangerous bacteria (sticks and cocci), which, if ingested, cause signs of food poisoning. Botulism, colibacillosis, salmonella, dysentery - this is an incomplete list of infectious lesions of the gastrointestinal tract.
It is worth noting that infectious disease doctors refer all these diseases not to food poisoning, but to acute intestinal infections (AII), but only in the case of laboratory detection of bacteria. If a microorganism specific for these diseases could not be identified, and the clinical picture is beyond doubt, then the general concept of toxicoinfection is used.
So, in addition to poisoning with poor-quality products, often in medical practice one has to deal with poisonings with poisonous plants or chemical poisons that have been eaten. If spoiled food has the risk of poisoning everything, then poisonous plants, medications and household chemicals are consumed by ignorance or negligence, mostly children.
Features of food poisoning in children
Due to the immaturity of the systems and organs, food poisoning in a child is more severe than in adults. Sometimes the same food does not cause any harm to the mother, but can cause severe toxic infections in her baby.
Let us consider in more detail the causes of the failure of a child’s body:
- low acidity of gastric juice, which is the first barrier against pathogenic bacteria;
- insufficient protective function of the liver (in other words, an incompletely formed system of enzymes necessary to neutralize, bind and remove poisons from the liver);
- rapid absorption of toxins from the mucous membranes of the mouth, stomach and intestines (this is due to a well-developed system of blood supply to the organs);
- low filtration ability of the kidneys;
- violation of the normal protective intestinal microflora (dysbacteriosis is often found in young children).
All of the above leads to the fact that food poisoning occurs in children more often, occur early and quickly, and occur much harder than in an adult. That is why if you have symptoms of food poisoning in children, you should consult a doctor!
Independently treat at home only light toxicoinfections with a slight violation of the general condition of the child.
It is completely unacceptable to engage in self-treatment of newborns (from birth to one year), since the incidence of severe complications in this group of children is quite high!
The clinical picture of food poisoning in a child
Poisoning in children is divided into the period of asymptomatic disease and the period of the expanded clinical picture.
The period of asymptomatic flow (latent)
This time from the ingestion of infection to the first signs of its manifestation. Its duration can be from 30 minutes to days and depends on the age of the child, the amount of food eaten, the type of toxin or pathogen, individual characteristics. Symptoms may or may not be at all, or there may be weakness, malaise, discomfort, sweating. As soon as a certain amount of poison is absorbed into the blood, the first signs of food poisoning appear.
The period of the expanded clinical picture
The period from the entry of the toxin into the blood until its complete elimination (elimination from the body). The duration of this stage of poisoning depends not only on the reaction of the child’s body to the toxin, but also on the timeliness of the measures taken (as a rule, not more than 5–6 days).
Food poisoning is manifested by symptoms of lesions of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines (acute gastroenteritis), general intoxication and dehydration (loss of fluid). As discomfort and weakness increase, nausea appears, the child becomes sluggish, drowsy, refuses to eat. The body temperature rises (in children up to 3–5 years old it can reach 39.5 ° C centigrade), there are different manifestations of abdominal pain. The latter are due to spasm of the smooth muscles of the stomach and intestines. To quickly eliminate toxins inside, the body uses a defensive reaction: vomiting and diarrhea. It should be remembered that triple vomiting in children already requires urgent measures to restore water and electrolyte balance.
Vomiting in a child with food poisoning, as well as diarrhea, can occur 10–12 times a day! Loss of fluid leads to signs of dehydration:
- pointed features;
- dry skin;
- convulsions, anuria, hypotension (lower blood pressure), acidosis (acidification of the blood) appear with significant dehydration and are dangerous complications of toxicoinfection.
In most cases, the main manifestations of poisoning are reduced in the first 1-3 days, leaving behind a feeling of weakness and drowsiness. For some time, abdominal pain, headache, lack of appetite, upset stool may persist.
What to do when there are signs of food poisoning in children
The above-described symptoms of foodborne toxicoinfections are non-specific, that is, they are characteristic of most poisonings. When poisonous plants are consumed (berries of lily of the valley, nightshade, aconite, castor beans, belladonna and others), some drugs and household chemicals, poisonous mushrooms, in addition to standard signs, symptoms characteristic of a particular poison also appear.
- when food poisoning causes suspicious or unusual symptoms, such as convulsions, loss of consciousness, severe tachycardia, low pressure, severe headache, blurred vision, speech, unsteady gait, vomiting or stool with blood, hallucinations, shortness of breath — you should immediately call an ambulance help;
- food poisoning in newborns (children under one year old) is treated only under the supervision of a pediatrician;
- in case of severe poisoning, hospitalization is indicated.
Food poisoning treatment in children
The complex of therapeutic measures is based on the severity of the clinical picture, the age of the child and the type of toxin (the cause of intoxication). So, what should parents do with food poisoning in a child? How to effectively and quickly cure food poisoning?
Fight against dehydration
The most important thing is to compensate for the loss of fluid! Pediatricians with great success use Regidron solution, which should be given to a child in the amount of 1-2 tablespoons every 10 minutes and after each vomiting or liquid stool. In the absence of the drug, you can use regular boiled water.
The basic rule that parents need to remember is to give water in small quantities, but often.
At the first signs of food poisoning before the appearance of vomiting sorbents (activated carbon, Polysorb, Smekta, Enterosgel) help well.
The mechanism of action of drugs is the absorption on their surface of toxic substances and toxins and their removal. Thus, the earlier they were taken, the more chances to reduce the flow of toxin into the blood.
Intestinal antibiotics and antidiarrheal drugs
This group of drugs should be used only on prescription and in laboratory diagnosis of acute intestinal infections (for example, salmonellosis, botulism, dysentery). Independently deciding to give children intestinal antibiotics and antidiarrheal drugs, you act at your own risk!
In some cases, self-administration of Enterofuril suspension or Loperamide capsules is possible to reduce diarrhea.
Preparations for the restoration of microflora can begin to give the child after cessation of vomiting. They accelerate recovery, reduce the severity of symptoms of poisoning, help in the fight against pathogenic bacteria.
Apply probiotics for the treatment and prevention of poisoning and infections.
At the time of treatment, the child needs a sparing diet with the restriction of flour, sweet, fat, spicy and salty. Completely exclude juices, dairy products and semi-finished products.
In conclusion, I would like to say that all therapeutic measures, their duration, and doses of drugs should be prescribed only by the attending physician. Help with severe food poisoning in a child is provided only in the hospital. The best prevention of food poisoning is the observance of sanitary and hygienic norms and rules.