Everything you need to know about botulism

Botulism is one of the scariest infections that you’ll ever hear of in your life. This condition is caused by toxins from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which attack the nervous system. It’s usually very rare for healthy adults to contract botulism. However, improper food prepping practices increase the risk of getting this infection since stored food are more susceptible to contamination than fresh foods. So when maintaining your own food supply, make sure that you are taking the necessary safety precautions and that you know how to identify contaminated foods.

If you fail to identify the signs that your food is contaminated and you proceed to eat it, it’s possible for you to get botulism. Typically, the onset of this infection occurs in just 12 hours, but most people fail to notice it until three days after. Botulism infections exhibit different symptoms depending on how long a person has been suffering from it. Below is a list of symptoms starting from the earliest manifestations of botulism to those that appear later on.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drooping face (especially eyelids)
  • Double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Fast heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing

How is botulism contracted and prevented?

Up to 10 percent of people who contract botulism die even with the existing treatments against it. This highlights the importance of knowing how the infection is contracted so that you can effectively avoid them.

Contaminated food is the most common cause of botulism. It’s rare for commercially available foods to house C. botulinum, so most foodborne cases of infection come from self-prepared foods. If you’re a prepper, make sure that you handle and store your food properly to protect them from bacterial contamination, especially since botulism-causing bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments that have low oxygen levels. Home-canned foods are especially susceptible to contamination since this bacteria can grow on the surface of the cans. If you observe any of the following from your canned goods, then there’s a big chance that they have already been contaminated and that you should throw them away.

  • Bulging of the can
  • Foaming or spurting of the liquid from inside the can
  • Unusual cheesy smell

Less common ways through which botulism can be contracted include inhalation of C. botulinum spores and botox injections. (Related: Botox Injections Can Leak Botulism Toxin Into the Brain, Warn Scientists.)

Natural remedies for foodborne botulism

Once you have been diagnosed with foodborne botulism, you will be given treatments that aim to empty your stomach either through vomiting or fecal excretion. To provide further assistance, you can also use the following natural remedies:

  • Garlic — The sulfur products in garlic serve as natural detoxifying agents so that the botulinum toxin can be eliminated from the body. Moreover, garlic also has antibacterial properties that can kill off bacteria that produce this toxin. To enjoy these benefits, take one to two cloves of garlic per day or drink two capsules of garlic supplements with every meal.
  • Ginger — Ginger can help you recover from botulism and other forms of food poisoning. Use this natural remedy by chopping it into tiny pieces, boiling it, and adding some sugar to it. Take it three times a day, and you’ll start feeling better after some time.
  • Yogurt and fenugreek — To combat botulinum-producing bacteria in your digestive system, add some yogurt to your diet. You can also mix some fenugreek seeds into the yogurt and eat one tablespoon of this mixture every day.
  • Apple cider vinegar — The alkaline nature of apple cider vinegar gives immediate relief to people suffering from botulism or other types of food poisoning. Just mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a cup of warm water and drink up before you have any solid meals.
  • Milk thistle — Silymarin in milk thistle is known for its ability to repair toxin-induced damage. Moreover, this compound also helps in eliminating the botulinum toxin from the body.

For more articles about different types of bacterial infections, visit Infections.news.

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