It is challenging enough to take care of a sick adult, but when children get sick, dehydrated, need intravenous fluids and look like near death, it is heart wrenching.
As an ER physician, I have taken care of many sick kids. Most of my colleagues would agree that comforting the crying child and sometimes the crying parents, attempting to draw blood or start an IV is really emotionally draining.
Unfortunately, according to a 2011 CDC report, children aged younger than 5 years continue to have the highest rate of food borne infections. Nationally every year there was 1 infection per ~ 1500 children.
Tragically, pregnancy and newborns are at greater risk from some infections. In a recent Listeria cantaloupe epidemic, of the 146 persons infected, seven were during pregnancy; three in newborns and four in pregnant women. One miscarriage was reported.
In the 2008 & 2009 peanut butter epidemic, half of all the ill persons were younger than 16 years and 21% were younger than 5 years.
In the 1993 Jack in the Box hamburger E. Coli epidemic,
Sadly, our school cafeterias are still risky. 7% of food consumption Norovirus outbreaks were traced to our schools, and 6% of bloody colitis infections were traced to schools. Norovirus is annoying but bloody colitis infections can cause kidney failure, severe bowel infections, multiple surgeries and sometimes death. Understanding The Causes Of Foodborne Illness Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) Carol Selman Senior Environmental Health Officer.
Holding a sick child that is pale with sunken eyes, tenting skin, breathing fast and nearly lifeless is frightening for everyone. If you find the illness is caused by food poisoning, all any parent or health care provider can do is try to contain your anger.
Unfortunately, food borne illness isn’t the only health risk for our child. Unhealthy foods are still served in many of our schools. “Junk” food also threatens their long term health. As a parent or grandparent, you are entrusted with the lives of these precious souls.
Be diligent about food safety guidelines to save our children!