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Parenting: Handling food poisoning in a toddler

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Added 12th October 2017 05:30 PM

Kitaka explains that the food poisoning presents with symptoms such as abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and often fever, chills, and headache.

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Most toddlers eat or drink anything they come across and sometimes, they may consume something that is contaminated, which may lead to getting diarrhoea and vomiting.

Child expert, Dr Sabrina Kitaka, a senior lecturer in the department of paediatrics at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, says food poisoning, which is usually caused by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with one of several kinds of nasty bacteria, can be hard to distinguish from a stomach virus, which is usually picked up on the hands and transferred to the mouth.

Kitaka explains that the food poisoning presents with symptoms such as abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and often fever, chills, and headache.

She says if a toddler has food poisoning, the symptoms will likely appear between two and 48 hours and usually last a day or two but can continue for a week or more in severe cases.

Kitaka explains that campylobacter is the most frequently diagnosed foodborne bacterium; it is usually transmitted through raw or undercooked poultry or unpasteurised milk as well as contaminated water. It is not usually spread from person to person, but it can be if your child has it and has diarrhoea.

For example, you could possibly get it from cleaning him or her up. She says it is also possible to contract the bacteria from the stool of a dog or cat.

The other bacterium is E.coli, which is transmitted through food or water that is contaminated with microscopic amounts of cow dung. If one does not wash their hands after using the toilet, they can also spread it to another person.

She explains that in babies and children, E-Coli can be life threatening and often requires hospitalisation.

Tips on avoiding food poisoning

Do not give your child unpasteurised milk, juice or cheese or raw meat.

Keep hot food hot and cold food cold before eating it; defrost food in the refrigerator, not on the countertop or in the sink.

Do not eat meat, chicken or fish that has been refrigerated uncooked for more than one or two days. When reheating food, do so thoroughly.

Complied by Vivian Agaba

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