Food poisoning occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites settle in food or beverages. In general, the growth of these potentially pathogenic microorganisms is not detectable with the naked eye, so parents cannot prevent intoxications from occurring.
However, we can take certain precautions to prevent food from becoming contaminated, and we can also make the symptoms of poisoning in our children more bearable. This is how you should act against food poisoning in children in summer.
After eating contaminated food, sudden and severe symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea may occur, or they may appear after a few hours. Generally, medical treatment is not needed, so the child will feel better as the days go by, but, when the heat is also hot, it is useful to follow these tips to prevent the symptoms from getting worse.
- Fluid intake is very importantSince both vomiting and diarrhea cause the body to shed large amounts of water. Sweating can aggravate fluid loss, so drinking water is a must to avoid dehydration. Pharmacy preparations are also a good option, since in addition to water, they also replenish electrolytes, which the body is losing.
- Avoid sodas and sugary drinks (like juices), since sugar favors the growth of microorganisms. It is also advisable to avoid milk, since lactose is one of the main substrates for the growth of pathogens such as Salmonella, which causes many of the poisonings in childhood.
- If it can and is tolerated, fruits rich in water are another way to replace lost fluids. In addition, fruits provide micronutrients, so they are doubly advisable. It is better to choose those that are less sweet to avoid sugar. However, fructose in fruit is less detrimental to poisoning by comparison than glucose.
- It is recommended limit fat content, also avoiding cooking methods that add fat to the food, such as frying.
- By overcoming toxinfection, dehydration can lead to a problem of constipation that should also be avoided.
The most important preventive precautions, with special attention to temperatures in summer, are:
- Wash hands before eating, and of course before cooking. Also before and after handling raw food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables well that are to be consumed raw.
- Make sure not using the same utensils for raw and cooked foods, and avoid contact between them. Refrigerate cooked food immediately, as high temperatures promote microbial growth.
- Cook meat and fish well, ensuring that they reach between 65 and 75C depending on the origin of the piece. Cook the eggs until the yolk is firm.
- Take special care with the cold chain. Keep refrigerated food in the fridge and frozen food in the freezer until use. Never defrost food at room temperature.
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