Honey on a dummy could have killed tot

The Scots have a way with headlines  — and in this case it’s deadly serious.

Call it what you will, a dummy, pacifier, soother, nuk – that’s Sorenne with one of hers a few weeks ago – they should never be dipped in honey.

A child in Scotland has been in hospital for six weeks fighting for his life with botulism and he could have caught it from sucking a dummy which had been dipped in honey, it emerged last night.

Since 1976, over 1,000 cases of infant botulism have been reported worldwide, most of them in America.

Clostridium botulinum can cause sickness in very young children, and infants under the age of 1 years old are most at risk. Honey may contain Clostridium botulinum spores that can grow in the digestive tract of children less than one-year-old because their digestive system is less acidic. The bacteria produces toxin in the body and can cause severe illness. Even pasteurized honey can contain botulism spores and should be not be given to children under the age of 12 months.

Pet snakes and babies don’t mix: 4-month-old hospitalized with Salmonella in UK

I don’t know what it is with parents in the U.K. letting pet snakes hang out with their babies.

For the third time in recent memory, a 4-month-old baby fell seriously ill with salmonella she caught from the family’s pet snake.

The baby girl was admitted to intensive care at St Thomas Hospital with a fever and high heart rate in August, where hospital tests revealed she was suffering from a strain known as salmonella Arizona, which is commonly associated with snakes.

She has recovered since then and an investigation by environmental health officers at Sutton Council identified the most likely source to be the family’s two royal python snakes, which can carry the infection in their gut and spread it through their droppings.

The council has now issued a hygiene warning to owners of exotic reptiles, saying it is essential for them to wash hands thoroughly after handling a reptile and keep the animal away from anywhere food is prepared.

Burger King outs baby for ‘no shoes’ rule

No shirt, no shoes, no service, baby!

According to KSHB-TV, the manager of a Burger King near St. Louis, Missouri, told Jennifer Frederich she would have to get her food to go because her daughter, Kaylin, wasn’t wearing any shoes. 

"She doesn’t own shoes. She’s only six months old,” said Frederich after the manager explained that feet without shoes were against the health code, and, no, socks would not suffice. 

“She doesn’t walk, so she’s not touching the ground," Frederich continued, "There is no reason for her to have shoes on.”

While the manager’s apparent commitment to the health code was admirable, the misplaced emphasis suggests it was not a product of a culture of food safety.

"In fact," the Associated Press later reported, "shoelessness is not a health code violation in St. Louis County."

A statement by Burger King, cited by the AP, says the owner of that particular franchise "apologizes for this guest’s experience…The franchisee is retraining his restaurant team on the proper use of the ‘no shoes’ policy."

The franchise owner also contacted Frederich to apologize in person.

No baby shoes, no service at Burger King

Sorenne turns 8-months-old tomorrow. Being in Florida, Amy bought her some flip-flops. But that’s about it for shoes.

However, a Burger King manager took the no shirt, no shoes, no service policy to some extremes and threatened to call police on a mom because her 6-month-old baby wasn’t wearing shoes in the restaurant.

Seriously, who would want to put a six month old on the floor of a Burger King?

The video below explains:

UK baby catches salmonella from pet snake and lizard

The two-month old didn’t just catch salmonella from exotic family pets.

It wasn’t like she chose to cuddle with them.

I have a six-month-old and don’t let her get intimate with reptiles.

The Widnes tot was taken to hospital after environmental health officers found the family’s corn snake and bearded dragon lizard were both carrying the deadly bacteria (Salmonella).

The story also says that pet owners are also being urged to keep the animals away from kitchen sinks and bath tubs, and to even avoid smoking and handling them.

So try not to smoke your lizard. Or let your baby touch it.

CHUCK DODD: Eating dirt can be bad for you

New York Times journalist Jane Brody suggests that eating dirt is an instinctive behavior in humans. In her article, Eating dirt can be good for you – just ask babies, she interviewed researchers who think people should eat dirt in order to stimulate their immune system.  Brody says that immune system disorders such as asthma and allergies have risen significantly in the United States. 

Although allergies do appear to be on the rise, the awareness of allergies, the ability to diagnose allergies, and the number of people at risk (the U.S. population) have also risen significantly. 

The director of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Dr. Joel Weinstock, said in the interview,

"There are very few diseases that people get from worms. Humans have adapted to the presence of most of them. … Children should be allowed to go barefoot in the dirt, play in the dirt, and not have to wash their hands when they come in to eat…let kids have two dogs and a cat, which will expose them to intestinal worms that can promote a healthy immune system.”

Dr. Weinstock, I’m sure glad you aren’t my doctor. 

I agree that immune systems are naturally stimulated by various exposures to the environment, and that Americans use too many antibacterial products, but I question Dr. Weinstock’s knowledge of zoonotic diseases.  Intestinal parasites from animals that infect humans, since many are not adapted to humans, often leave the intestines and migrate through the body.  There are approximately 10,000 human cases of larva migrans in the U.S. each year.  Unfortunately, most of these cases are in children, and a few of these kids die.

Eating dirt is an instinct?  Not for me.  Babies eat dirt because they don’t know better.  Some may think that bad behavior is an instinct, but calling bad behavior an instinct doesn’t excuse it.  Bad advice shouldn’t be excused either. 

Dirt may have poop in it, so don’t eat it.


Watching the trainwreck that is diarrhea

There’s a certain appeal to trainspotting – or watching an impending trainwreck. It’s appalling and compelling at the same time. Ben and I went to a Sloan concert in Guelph several years ago and we wanted to leave they were so bad – and Sloan is usually great – but had to stay and watch where they would descend to next.

It was worth the wait.

Amy the French professor has a similar obsession. There’s some woman who writes a blog about her meaningless life in France and Amy is hooked. Amy finds this woman’s blog posts meaningless, facile and unbelievably stupid. And she reads it every day.

Recently, French blogger’s daughter had, as Ben likes to say, the squirts: diarrhea at daycare. Mom says, “Our daycare is pretty cool about letting her (diarrhea daughter) come.”

Diarrhea in a daycare is not a good thing, but hey, poop happens. Not so sure about the quality control when the kid’s runny poop ends up on the bandage of her finger that mom had accidentally attempted to sever using a bedroom door. Read the blog and it may make sense; or want to kill yourself.

Surprisingly, the newspaper in Pembroke, Ontario, near the Barry’s Bay cottage owned by the parents of my high school girlfriend, has some tips for kids with the squirts.

Prevent the spread of viruses. Clean your hands and your child’s hands often, especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper. Use soap and warm water, or hand sanitizer. If hands are dirty, hand sanitizers won’t work, you’ll need to wash with soap and water first.

Amy and I have been changing a lot of diapers. We wash our hands. And despite some fantastically explosive messes, haven’t gotten baby shit on the kid’s fingers.

Listeria and Mother’s Milk

Doug wrote a book called Mad Cows and Mother’s Milk about a decade ago. I still haven’t read it. I feel bad about that, but I don’t think it has the answers to my recent nursing questions.

When we were meeting with the lactation consultant in the hospital (Melanie – you are fabulous, by the way), we asked her if foodborne illness could be passed on to the baby. She said no. She said not to worry about viruses such as flu or colds and that the baby cannot get Listeria or Salmonella from anything I eat.

Once home from the hospital, I immediately went for the pâté, brie, goat cheese (thank you Graduate Students!), and smoked salmon. Who knew that motherhood could be so delicious?

Impact of listeria on infants in B.C. documented

A new report shows that of the 78 residents of the Canadian province of British Columbia who contracted listeriosis in the past six years, 10 per cent were pregnant women whose infections put them at high risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.

The majority — nearly 60 per cent — of pregnant women diagnosed with listeriosis either miscarry or have stillbirths.

In a case described in the current B.C. Medical Journal, a pregnant woman in her 30s went to a Lower Mainland hospital complaining of a stiff neck, fever, back pain and headache. After arriving, she delivered a stillborn baby at 21 weeks gestation.

The authors wrote,

"Health care providers [want] better information for themselves and resources they could share with pregnant women. … The information provided to pregnant women by health care providers needs to be targeted and clear," and that as a result of the spring survey, BCCDC will start a project to better inform health care providers and their patients about food safety risks during pregnancy.

It’s a national embarrassment that statistics on listeriosis in Canada are either not available or hopelessly unreliable. Further, the call to action probably never would have gotten noticed were it not for the 24 deaths and dozens of illnesses in the Maple Leaf listeria outbreak. Pregnant women and other at-risk populations deserve better.