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How botulism can affect your health?



Of the many types of food poisoning, botulism is one of the most dangerous. It can cause paralysis and can be life-threatening, but it is pretty rare. Botulism is usually associated with canning fruits and vegetables at home. Over-the-counter canned foods can carry the bacteria that cause botulism, but they rarely occur these days. However, botulism can occur in ways other than food poisoning.


If you become botulism, the symptoms are usually the same. The most apparent sign is weakness starting on both sides of the face and extending to the neck and the rest of the body. Other early symptoms include:

  • double or blurred vision
  • hanging eyelids
  • dysphagia
  • Blurred speech not returning
  • shortness of breath

Other symptoms that may persist include vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Afterward, you may have a lot of difficulties urinating and experience severe constipation. Symptoms do not include fever. Without treatment, symptoms can progress and paralyze the arms, legs, and muscles used for breathing.


In food poisoning, doctors can cleanse the digestive tract by administering drugs that cause vomiting and defecation. If there is botulism in the wound, the doctor may need to remove the infected tissue surgically.


If food poisoning or wound botulism is diagnosed, the injected antitoxin reduces the risk of complications. Antitoxins bind to toxins that circulate in the bloodstream and prevent nerve damage.

However, antitoxins cannot undo the damage done. Fortunately, nerves are regenerated. Many people recover fully but may require months and long-term rehabilitation treatment.

Another type of antitoxin, known as botulinum toxin immunoglobulin, is used to treat infants.


Antibiotics are recommended for the treatment of wound botulism. However, these drugs can accelerate the release of toxins and are not recommended for other types of botulism.

Respiratory aid

If you have respiratory problems, you will likely need a ventilator for a few weeks as the effects of the toxins will gradually wear off. A ventilator pumps air into the lungs through a tube placed in the airways through the nose or mouth.

“Botulism is caused by the ability of C. botulinum to produce several neurotoxins which prevent acetylcholine from being released from the motor nerve endings causing flaccid paralysis and symptoms of blurred vision, drooping eyelids, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or constipation and cramps. Read more about it on Science Media Centre.

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