This post is also available in: Български (Bulgarian)
Children are especially susceptible to gastrointestinal infections. Their underdeveloped immune system is incapable of protecting them, and so pathogens that cause mild symptoms in adults lead to violent reactions in children and can seriously endanger their health.
Colloquially, these infections are referred to as food poisoning, although it is only caused by poisonous foods and pesticides. Gastrointestinal infections are most commonly caused by eating food that is contaminated with bacteria or parasites.
One of the most common infections in children during summertime is salmonellosis. It is caused by the bacterium Salmonella. The latter develops rapidly on hot days in animal source foods – eggs, meat, milk. Improper thermal processing, unwashed hands, or various mistakes in food preparation lead to an infection.
Salmonella attacks the stomach and intestines, causing nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever. It is especially dangerous for children under 4 years of age whose immune system is still not fully developed, as well as for children with chronic diseases.
The first symptoms appear within 3 days of infection. The body usually copes with the infection relatively easily, requiring only medications that lower the temperature, antiemetics and anti-diarrheal medicines, diet and hydration. In rare cases, however, the infection is severe, spreads to other organs, and can cause enlargement of the spleen and liver, meningitis, pneumonia. Severe infection requires hospital treatment and antibiotics.
There are four forms of the disease:
In order to protect your children from a salmonella infection, take extra care with the food they consume during the summer. High air temperatures increase the risk of infection. Animal source foods that have not been properly and thoroughly cooked or have been left out at room temperature are also dangerous. To prevent the disease, it is important to stick to the following rules:
If, despite taking all precautions, the child becomes infected with salmonella, the following measures can be taken to alleviate the symptoms and speed up the recovery process:
Be sure to consult a pediatrician who will provide useful advice and decide on proper treatment, depending on the condition of the child and the presence or absence of chronic diseases.