Food poisoning is something that we likely will all suffer from at some point in our lives. That is because we can’t see, smell, or taste the organisms that cause food poisoning. As adults, we will be able to identify food that has gone bad or is out of date, but kiddos might not be so aware.
Food poisoning is an unpleasant experience for anyone, but kids tend to be at higher risk from reacting to certain bacteria and toxins, which can cause upset tummies. In this post, we will take a look at some of the common causes and give you some tips on how to prevent food poisoning in kids.
What Is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning is caused by bacteria, viruses, and toxins that get into food due to contamination or improper storage. This can occur at any stage of the journey from the farm to the plate. The common culprits are salmonella and E. coli, but other viruses and parasites can also lead to problems with food.
Many instances of food poisoning occur when families eat out at restaurants, but it also can happen in the home. A lack of personal hygiene or healthy food preparation awareness can increase opportunities for germs to get in food and multiply.
What Are the Symptoms of Food Poisoning?
The main symptoms of food poisoning include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tummy ache and cramps
Symptoms can start within a few hours of eating contaminated food but sometimes don’t come on until up to 48 hours later.
What Should I Do if My Child Has Food Poisoning?
The main thing you should do is ensure that your child is well-hydrated. Make sure that they drink lots of fluids. Try to use oral rehydration solutions and avoid dairy products.
If your child feels hungry, try to keep the food as light as possible while avoiding oily and spicy foods. Generally, kids should start feeling better after a few days, but if their symptoms don’t improve or you/they notice any blood in their stool, you should have your child checked out by your doctor.
How to Prevent Food Poisoning
While it is impossible to eliminate every kind of bacteria and foreign body from food, there are numerous steps you can take to minimize the risk of your kids getting food poisoning.
Wash Your Hands — always make sure you wash your hands before and after touching food.
Keep Surfaces Clean — make sure you always clean your kitchen worktops, cutlery, and utensils to minimize the spread of bacteria.
Wash Raw Fruits and Vegetables — always wash fruits and vegetables before serving them, as they have dirt and other organisms on them that could contaminate other food.
Follow the Instructions — make sure that food is properly cooked before serving. Making sure that food is hot and served instantly reduces the number of harmful bacteria in the food. If the food has passed its use-by date, then don’t use it!
Store Leftovers Properly — some foods, like rice, should be eaten the same day it is prepared and not reheated, while other foods need time to cool down properly and must be stored in airtight containers in the fridge.
Avoid Cross-Contamination — you should store raw foods in separate areas of the fridge, away from cooked food. Also, use separate knives and cutting boards if you are preparing different kinds of foods. For example, keep fresh vegetables away from raw chicken.