How does botulism happen? Basically, it develops from food that has not been stored correctly. This could also mean foods that are canned. Also, if foods that are perishable are not stored at the right temperatures, the botulism germ commonly known as Clostridium botulinum will grow.This germ is a gram-positive germ, forming a spore which is rod-shaped.This rod-shaped germ forms what is called a neurotoxin. This particular toxin is very strong and causes a person to become violently ill.
Clostridium botulinum will grow in areas that do not have proper oxygen levels. This germ is also likely to grow in foods that have a low acid level. You should always be aware of foods in a can for instance, that pucker out, or look different in a way that is not normal. Chances are that the canning process was done incorrectly, and there could be a chance of clostridium botulinum growth.
How long does it take before botulism symptoms set in after eating bad foods? Generally, it could take anywhere from 15 hours to as late as even ten days. But if the clostridium germ is present, chances are higher that the symptoms will set in much sooner, in just a few hours once the germs hit the intestinal area.
What are the symptoms that a person may have botulism?
Symptoms of botulism are those such as:
1. Feeling very weak
2. Disturbance in eyesight
3. Speaking patterns that are slurry
4. Mouth that has no saliva
5. Trouble with trying to swallow
6. A very critical symptom is trouble breathing
How botulism is diagnosed
Botulism is diagnosed by taking an assessment of your medical conditions and foods that you have recently eaten as well as drinks. Hospital personnel will then take further testing after a complete physical. Testing will probably include giving urine and stool samples which may point out the clostridium bacteria. Sometimes doctors will also test the affected person neurologically, (meaning brain issues).
Treatment for Botulism
The treatment for this illness includes giving intravenous antibiotics that can kill off neurotoxins. So the only way to recover, is through hospital care. Some people may even require a respirator if the breathing has become extremely labored.
Some people may require the strong induction of vomiting if the anti-neurotoxin drugs don’t kill the bacteria.
You can prevent botulism to begin with.
To prevent the foodborne type of botulism, always take strict precautions that the food you are eating doesn’t appear wrong or off in some way. That is the first step.
NEVER do anything such as eat a baked potato that has been left in foil for a number of hours. I personally knew of a gentleman who nearly died of botulism this way. Foil has toxins that will enter the potato after a period of sitting in the fridge.
If your foods have been canned by you at home, it doesn’t hurt to let them boil for maybe 12 minutes. This is for your own protection as the boiling kills more bacteria that might be lying in home canned foods.
Practicing these steps should prevent the terrible misery that this foodborne illness can bring.