When most of us hear the word food poisoning, we tend to think of summer picnics and barbeques as well as foods that easily spoil when left out in the heat. Items such as mayonnaise based salads and dressings, fruits, as well as dips made from eggs or dairy products are especially prone to spoilage when they are not prepared or stored properly.
Food Poisoning Can Happen at Any Time of Year
Food poisoning, however, is not limited to summer outings or even holiday gatherings; it is a very common illness and can happen at any time of the year. It’s especially likely to happen when folks eat foods that are not prepared or kept at their proper temperature. Symptoms of food poisoning can be both embarrassing and painful and include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Food Poisoning is Normally Confined to the Digestive Tract
While it might seem counter-intuitive, it is safe for mothers to continue to breastfeed their babies when they have food poisoning. This is because the bacteria that causes the symptoms of food poisoning are typically confined to the mother’s digestive tract and do not cross over into the mother’s breast milk. So, it is usually safe to continue to breastfeed your baby when you have simple food poisoning.
Hydration and BRAT Diet Can Help You Feel Better
As you recover from this illness, be careful to drink enough water and other liquids so that you stay hydrated. Ice chips can also help you to avoid dehydration and minimize nausea. The popular BRAT diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast may also help to ease nausea, stomach upset, vomiting and loose stools caused by the bacteria.
Things to Keep in Mind or Avoid When Food Poisoning Strikes
While there are some over the counter medications that can help you to control the symptoms of food poisoning and other illnesses, it’s best to consult with your doctor before taking them to ensure that they will not affect your baby. Also, if you are not feeling any better after a couple of days, you should contact your health professional to make certain that your illness is indeed food poisoning and not something more serious.
While it is generally safe to continue breastfeeding when recovering from food poisoning, sometimes, in very rare instances, the bacteria can leave the gastrointestinal tract and enter the blood stream. Usually, the mother will be admitted to the hospital if this occurs, and placed on antibiotic therapy and possibly I.V. fluids. Even if this should happen, the mother is often able to continue to breastfeed, depending on the type of antibiotic therapy used.
So, if you are a nursing mother suffering from food poisoning take heart. The symptoms should pass in a few days and leave your baby, and your breastfeeding routine, unscathed.