Honey can give your infant botulism

If your child is less than one year old, you should not be feeding your child honey. Honey is known to contain botulinum spores, and these spores can develop into bacteria that produce botulinum toxin inside your child.

Botulinum toxin is one of the most toxic substances known. It only takes one millionth of a gram of Botulinum toxin to kill a baby through paralysis. One of the muscles that gets paralysed is the diaphram muscle, and the child stops breathing. In milder cases, your child develops constipation, then starts losing appetite. As it progresses, motor control starts to degrade and your child cannot control drooling and head motion.

The reason why botolinum toxin affects infants, but not older children or adults, has to do with the immaturity of an infant's intestinal flora. As adults, we carry a large number of beneficial bacteria in our intestines. In adults and children over one year of age, these good bacteria out-compete and eliminate bad bacteria. The botulinum spores never have a chance to develop and produce their toxin.

In an infant, the intestinal flora have not fully developed. The botulinum spores are able to grow into viable botulinum bacteria that start creating botulinum toxin. Because botulinum toxin is so potent, it does not take very much of it to start affecting the health of your baby.

Steps you can take

  • You should NEVER feed your infant honey. Raw corn syrup is another possible avenue and you should avoid it as well.

  • Botulinum spores are found naturally in dirt, so keeping your child from eating dirt is a good idea.

  • If you suspect that your child has botulinum poisoning, you should see your doctor immediately.

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