Food can produce many illnesses in differing levels of severity based upon the toxin that causes the illness. One of the more serious forms of food poisonings that come from the ingestion of infected food is botulism. It is a rare but very serious illness caused by a bacteria that produces a toxin that affects your nervous system. Botulism is a food poisoning caused by a bacterium growing on improperly sterilized canned meats and other preserved foods.
The bacteria originate in soils, but can occur as an illness-inducing contamination due to improper storage of food grown in said soil. Food canned at home, including foods with a low acid content, improperly canned commercial foods, home-canned or fermented fish, herb-infused oils, baked potatoes in aluminum foil, cheese sauce, and bottled garlic are all foods that can transmit the illness when consumed. Small children and infants can contract botulism from honey, too. For a complete list of foods to avoid or be wary of for an infant’s safety, consult The Centers for Disease Control.
As botulism is both rare and severe, medical help should be sought as soon as symptoms occur. Symptoms of this illness include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness in adults and children, while lethargy, weakness, poor feeding, constipation, poor head control, and poor gag and sucking reflex are common symptoms in infants. If caught quick enough, treatment can often be limited to just an antitoxin injection and breathing assistance, but the symptoms can get more severe, leading to hospitalization and damage to the nervous system.
Due to the risk of symptoms causing further sickness, botulism should always be treated as soon as possible. For further information on how to contain and treat food poisonings such as botulism, consult organizations such as FoodSafety.gov to ensure the safety of infants and other at-risk persons.