Food Poisoning in Kids

Upset tummies and messy diapers are part and parcel of raising a young child. Children younger than five are at higher risk of developing the symptoms of food poisoning, as their digestive and immune systems aren’t as developed as older kids and adults.  

In this post, we will look closer at what causes food poisoning in kids and how you can help your little ones feel better as soon as possible. 

What causes food poisoning in kids? 

Food poisoning happens when kids eat or drink foods that are contaminated with bacteria, toxins, viruses, or parasites. Generally, food and water sources in the USA are safe, but food can get contaminated when not stored correctly, is past its best-use date, is undercooked, or is prepared on dirty surfaces or with unclean hands.  

The most common culprits of food poisoning include:  

  • Norovirus
  • E. coli
  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • Staphylococcus aureus

Food poisoning symptoms 

It can take anything from a few hours to a few days for food poisoning symptoms to appear. Different germs, bacteria, and toxins can cause various symptoms, but food poisoning in kids generally causes diarrhea and vomiting. Food poisoning symptoms include:  

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Cramps in the stomach and lower abdomen
  • Low-grade fever
  • Headache 
  • Fatigue

Food Poisoning Treatment in Littleton

How can I prevent food poisoning? 

It is difficult to eliminate the risks of food poisoning, but there are things you can do to reduce the risks. Good personal hygiene and food hygiene around the home can ensure that certain bacteria and bugs stay away from foods. Here are a few tips: 

  • Avoid certain foods and follow preparation guidelines to minimize the risks. 
  • Make sure you wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • Use pasteurized milk and dairy products.
  • Ensure that all meats, fish, and egg products are thoroughly cooked before serving.
  • Serve pasteurized fruit juices.

How is food poisoning in kids treated?

Symptoms of food poisoning in kids can last anywhere from one day to ten days and can usually be treated at home. The treatment will depend on the symptoms’ severity and the cause. 

It is essential to keep your child hydrated and ensure that they get lots of rest. For younger babies and infants, give them small amounts of breastmilk or formula. For older babies and young children, lots of water and electrolyte solutions can help them avoid dehydration.  

You’ll want to avoid giving your child solid meals or dairy products until their symptoms have calmed down. Fizzy drinks and caffeinated products can make their symptoms worse.  

Symptoms of food poisoning will usually improve after a day or so, but if the symptoms are severe or your child is struggling to hold down fluids, seek medical attention, as they may need an IV drip to prevent dehydration. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if the food poisoning is caused by bacteria such as listeria.  

When your child feels up for eating again, keep the meals simple and bland so it is easier to digest. Dry toast and rice are good places to start. 

Need some advice about your child’s digestive health? 

If you think your child has food poisoning or you have concerns over their digestive health, call us today to book an appointment with one of our friendly board-certified pediatricians in Littleton