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Is it fine to feed honey to infants?

(April 15, 2011)

Honey is widely known for the many positive effects it has on an individuals overall health status. Not only is it a natural sweetener that helps almost anything be more acceptable to the human palate, it also serves to be a very efficient energy booster as well as having a number of nutritional positives such as its abundant array of beneficial nutrients, minerals and vitamins. However, for all its obvious benefits, feeding an infant below the age of 1 year can have substantial ill effects because of the likely development of a condition known as Infant botulism – which is essentially a neuroparalytic condition that is characterized by a general weakness, constipation as well as a noticeably weak cry. Although fatal cases are rare, most developments of the condition will require some amount of hospitalization. The condition is primarily brought on by a bacterium known as clostridium botulinum.

Once consumed by an infant, the bacterium tends to grow and produce a poisonous substance within the intestines. This poisonous substance will serve to affect the baby’s muscular as well as nervous systems – making is significantly problematic for the child to carry out even the simplest of physical actions.

Apart from the symptoms already discussed, some of the other very visible symptoms of the condition include the complete lack of any facial expression as well as a poor sucking reflex with an increase in the irritability of the child. A complete recover should be expected as long as the condition has been detected during the earlier phases and will usually take a few weeks. The most likely serious complication of the condition is the development of respiratory insufficiency which may require the additional assistance of mechanical ventilation to help the child breathe. Infants that are unable to eat on their own are more likely to be given intravenous fluids and nutrition until the point of time where the condition improves. It helps to know that the gestation period of the condition is about 8 to 36 hours from the time of consumption of honey, so looking out for the symptoms after this timeframe will help during detection. It is also important to keep in mind the fact that sweeteners like corn syrup are also known to bring on the condition of infant botulism, so taking care in what you feed your baby is of utmost importance in order to avoid any of these complications.


Submitted by C N on April 15, 2011 at 12:12


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