What Is Botulism?

Botulism is a serious poisoning condition caused by toxin produced by Clostridium Botulinum bacteria. This condition is quite rare, but the toxins produced by these bacteria are known as one of the most dangerous and deadly toxins. The toxins produced by these bacteria attack the nervous system like the brain, spine, other nerves, and cause muscle paralysis. Paralysis that occurs can invade the muscles that control breathing, this can be deadly and should be immediately handled. These bacteria can usually enter the body through food or through injuries to the body.

Causes of Botulism
Clostridium botulinum bacteria can be found in soil, dust, rivers and seabed. These bacteria are actually harmless under normal environmental conditions, but when lack of oxygen they will release the poison. Clostridium botulinum bacteria will be deprived of oxygen while in closed cans, bottles, mud and immobile ground, or inside the human body.
Based on the cause, here are the three types of botulism:
  • Botulism of food poisoning. Botulism arising from the consumption of low-acid canned foods such as beans, corn and beet that became the development of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. If a person consumes a food that contains toxins that cause botulism, then the poison will disrupt the function of the nerve resulting in paralysis.
  • Wound botulism. Botulism arising from injury to infected patients Clostridium botulinum bacteria. The bacteria inside the wound subsequently proliferate and produce the botulism-causing toxin.
  • Baby botulism. This botulism occurs when the baby swallows the spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Clostridium botulinum bacterial spores (usually present in soil or honey) swallowed by this baby will breed and produce toxins in the gastrointestinal tract. Usually occurs in infants under one year of age.
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Symptoms Botulism
Symptoms are something that is felt and told by the sufferer. The appearance of botulism symptoms varies with each patient, ranging from several hours to several days after exposure to Clostridium botulinum bacteria. The symptoms that the patient feels depend on the cause and type of botulism, namely:
  • Botulism of food poisoning: difficulty swallowing and talking, dry mouth, weak facial muscles, visual impairment, limp eyelids (drooping), difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and paralysis.
  • Wound botulism: difficulty swallowing and speaking, weak facial muscles, impaired vision, limp eyelids (limp), difficulty breathing, paralysis.
  • Infant botulism: Constipation, difficulty in controlling the head, unmoved body movement (no muscle tension, such as cloth doll), weak crying, irritability, frequent salivation, limp drooping eyelids, fatigue, difficulty sucking or eating, paralysis.
If not treated promptly and correctly, botulism sufferers may be at risk for several complications such as:
  • Respiratory disorders.
  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Difficult to swallow.
  • Feeling weak continuously.
  • Breath becomes short

Botulism Diagnosis
Diagnosis is a doctor's step to identify a disease or condition based on symptoms and signs experienced by the patient. The doctor will perform a physical examination to check for signs of muscle weakness or paralysis, such as weak eyelids and weak voice.
In addition to physical examination, the doctor will also ask questions about the food consumed by patients during the last few days and about the injuries in the body at risk of bacterial infection.

Doctors can suggest blood and stool tests to check if there is a Clostridium botulinum bacteria in it. If it still exists, suspected food may also be brought for testing in the laboratory.

In infant botulism, the physician will ask the baby's parents whether the baby is fed honey, or have constipation or lethargy. Your doctor may also analyze your baby's blood, stool or vomiting to identify the botulism-causing poisons.

Botulism Treatment
Botulism sufferers need to undergo inpatient at the hospital. The purpose of botulism treatment is to neutralize toxins and help body functions (such as breathing) run normally, until the patient recovered.
Treatment of botulism will not heal muscle and respiratory paralysis that may have occurred, but treatment will keep the condition does not get worse. A few weeks or months after treatment, generally paralysis that appears before treatment will disappear and the body returns to normal.

Some treatments for botulism sufferers usually given by doctors are:
  • Giving antitoxin. In patients with botulism of food poisoning or wound botulism, doctors usually will inject antitoxin drugs to reduce the risk of complications. Antitoxin with immune globulin botulism is usually given to treat infant botulism.
  • Giving antibiotics. This procedure is recommended only for people with wound botulism, because antibiotics precisely accelerate the release of toxins.
  • Assistive devices . This tool will be installed by the doctor if the patient has difficulty breathing.
  • Rehabilitation. Paralysis in botulism sufferers can heal gradually. Patients need therapy to help the process of restoring speech, swallowing, and body functions affected by botulism.

Botulism Prevention
There are several steps you can take to prevent a person from getting botulism:
  • Avoid consuming food with damaged packaging, preserved food that smells, food stored at unsuitable temperatures, and food expiration.
  • Do not give honey to babies under one year, although in small amounts, because it is known that honey contains bacterial spores Clostridium botulinum. Corn syrup is also prohibited in infants under one year.
  • Do not use narcotics and illegal drugs.

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