Botulism is a serious illness that is caused by a nerve toxin in bacterium. A toxin is poison that is released by bacteria. There are many different types of botulism. This article will explain what this is, how it is spread, and what to do if you contract this disease.

What is botulism?

As mentioned above, botulism is a serious bacterial illness. A toxin is a poison that is released by bacteria. There are three types of botulism – wound, food, and infant botulism. Eating food that causes the botulism toxins may cause some food-borne botulism. This is also found in improperly processed canned foods. Wound botulism may occur when the spores contaminate a wound and produces toxins. Botulism in infants under one age has been associated with eating foods from the environment – like honey.

How is botulism spread?

Botulism is spread by bacteria. Person-to-person spread does not occur. If you have botulism and contracted it from food or any other form, you will not be able to spread it to your family. It is not contagious.

What are the symptoms?

All types of botulism, even if they’re different, affect the nervous system. The most common symptoms of botulism include:

  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Drooping Eyelids
  • Slurred Speech
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Dry Mouth
  • Muscle Weakness that starts in the upper body and spreads to the entire body.

These symptoms typically develop 12 hours to 2 days after eating the contaminated foods. While this is usually true, the symptoms may take up to 10 days to appear. In infants, it may take up to 2 weeks.

How is botulism treated?

Botulism makes hospitalization essential. If you are diagnosed early, botulism can be treated with an antitoxin, which blocks the effects of the toxins circulating in the blood. This can prevent patients from worsening, but recovery may still take many weeks. If this condition is left untreated, patients may need to be on a breathing machine for weeks and require intensive medical and nursing care. Infant botulism is treated with immune globulin, which is similar to the antitoxin, but a safer way for it to be administered. The majority of cases will recover if they have the proper care.

If you contract the symptoms, contact your local doctor, or visit a Las Vegas Urgent Care. You may be wise to keep any contaminated food for testing, to ensure that you do in fact have botulism.

All canned and preserved foods should be properly processed and prepared. If you come into contact with contaminated food, it may be a good idea to contact the manufacturer of the food to let them know that other foods in that shipment may have problems as well. Keep in mind that if you have been contaminated, others may too. While this disease cannot be spread from person to person, if multiple people partake of the infected food, you will likely all get the disease.

Botulism is a scary reality, but if you catch the symptoms early, you should be able to recover. Talk to your doctor today.

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