Botulism

By: Ally Ringeisen

What is it?

Botulism is a rare bus serious condition caused by toxins. Botulism can be fatal and is considered a medical emergency. The harmful bacteria thrive and reproduce without needing lots of oxygen such as canned foods.

Symptoms:

Symptoms usually arise between 12 and 36 hours from eating the contaminated food.

  • Difficulty swallowing and speaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Facial weakness
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Nausea, vomitting, and abdominal cramps
  • Paralysis
Seek immediate medical care if you suspect that you may have botulism.

Foods linked to Botulism:

Home canned foods such as


  • Green beans
  • Corn
  • Beets

Home canned foods that are low in acid have a higher rate of containing Botulism.
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Treatment

Doctors will sometimes clear out the digestive system by inducing vomiting and giving medications to induce bowel movements. They could also give you an antitoxin if it is diagnosed early. The injected antitoxin reduces he risk of complications. The antitoxin attaches its self to the toxin that's still circulating in the bloodstream, then it can't harm your nerves. The antitoxin won't reverse the damage that has already been done.

Statistics/Facts

  • Only 174 cases were reported last year making it extremely rare.
  • It can't be spread by contact or bodily fluids.
  • There are 3 Types of botulism: wound, infant, and food borne illness.
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Prevention

  • Use proper canning temperatures.
  • Boil food for 10 minutes before serving it.
  • Prepare and store food safely.
  • Don't feed babies honey.
  • Store oils infused with garlic or herbs in the refrigerator.

Story about botulism.

This article was written in 2014. Jay contracted botulism in 2011. His doctors had never seen something like his before. His wife said its the one thing that changed their lives. Jay still struggles to eat a spoonful of chocolate pudding, even after 2 years in and out of the hospital. Around thanksgiving 2011 Jay got sick. Jay was unable to breathe or move, he was hooked up to a ventilator and placed in the ICU. By day 6 the doctors prepared to declare him brain dead. He was paralyzed and unable to speak. His wife never gave up hope, she saw him move his leg one day, and demanded that the doctors look into it. Jay was on a ventilator for 11 months. They think he contracted botulism from a can of beets. Jay was unable to even push the button to have nurses to help him. Volunteers signed up to work 2 or 3 hour shifts. He regained his ability to blink and used it to communicate. Jay still continues to refuse to let botulism take the best of him.