Food Poisoning Symptoms in Children

Food poisoning can happen to anyone unfortunate enough to eat something contaminated with a certain type of bacteria or virus. Younger children are more at risk for food poisoning since their immune systems haven’t fully developed yet, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you suspect your child has food poisoning, you may need to contact the health department of your city or state, especially if you suspect he got it from a food he ate at a restaurant.


Diarrhea is a common symptom of many types of food poisoning, including salmonella, listeria or E. coli O157:H7. Some bacteria, such as campylobacter or shigella, as well as E. coli O157:H7, may cause the diarrhea to be bloody. If your child has diarrhea that you suspect is due to food poisoning, take her to the doctor. The doctor will test her stool, looking for bacteria. While some people recover on their own without treatment, your child may need antibiotics. Make sure she drinks plenty of water and an electrolyte juice, as diarrhea often leads to dehydration. You shouldn’t give children anti-diarrheal medications, according to Medline Plus.

Nausea, Stomach Pain and Vomiting

Stomach problems such as pain, nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of food poisoning in both children and adults. As with most food poisoning symptoms, your child may begin to experience stomach trouble a few hours after eating the contaminated food. It may also take several days for his symptoms to appear. Since nausea and vomiting can be caused by several other infections, such as the stomach flu, or by autoimmune disorders, you should take your child to the doctor if you are concerned that his stomach pain is caused by food poisoning. If he vomits for more than two days or experiences extreme stomach cramps, you should definitely take him to the doctor as soon as possible.

Blurry Vision

Botulism is a type of food poisoning that results from eating improperly canned vegetables, sauces and fruits. If you notice a canned good bulging, it’s most likely due to the presence of Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism. If your child happens to eat an improperly preserved canned good, she may be exposed to the bacteria. A common symptom of botulism is blurry vision, according to Kids Health. Your child may also complain of doubled vision, and you may notice that her eyes seem droopy. If this is the case, take her right to the hospital. All cases of botulism are emergencies, according to WebMD. It can lead to paralysis and death if not treated.

Lack of Interest in Food

All cases of food poisoning may make your child less interested in eating, since he’s most likely experiencing stomach pain and diarrhea. In some cases, though, the loss of appetite can be a special cause for concern. While all people are able to get botulism, infants are the most at risk, since their immune systems haven’t developed to fight off any level of exposure yet. If your baby is given honey, she can develop what is known as infant botulism. Fussy feedings and a lack of interest in food are common symptoms, as are a general lethargy and constipation.



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