botulism is diagnosed early, it can be treated with an
antitoxin, a substance that blocks the action of toxins circulating in the
blood. This antitoxin can prevent the condition from getting worse, but
recovery still takes many weeks.
You should receive the antitoxin
as soon as possible. However, it still may be beneficial to start treatment
even several weeks after becoming ill, because the antitoxin may possibly slow
or halt further progression of the disease.
Most cases of food poisoning are mild, lasting from one to three days. Since many people do not seek medical care, their food poisoning is not diagnosed.
Though your symptoms may sound suspicious, the only way to know for sure if you have food poisoning is to test the offending food or check the stool, blood, or vomit.
Chemical or toxin food poisoning can usually be diagnosed by a description of symptoms and by testing food potentially responsible for the poisoning.
It's important to
weigh the risks of treatment against potential benefits. The botulism antitoxin
is manufactured from horse serum, so developing a severe allergic reaction
serum sickness is possible.
Currently, botulism antitoxin is not routinely given to
infants younger than 1 year of age. But there is a treatment for this group.
Botulism immune globulin (BabyBIG) can be used to treat botulism in infants
younger than 1 year old.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
February 8, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 08, 2011
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