June 07, 2010

Babies, Salmonella and Pesticides

We finally got our diagnosis from the children's hospital and our little Viking had a case of salmonella in his bloodstream that needed intravenous antibiotic treatment. He didn't have pneumonia as previously thought by the regular hospital ER. He was dehydrated and lethargic with a fever, so they are keeping him an extra night to be on the safe side - even though his blood seems to be free of the bacteria now. They say that his bowels won't be back to their usual self for at least another week or so, but at least he's acting more like his cheerful, mischievous self.

It's hard to see your baby so sick.

Previous to being at the hospital with him, I would have thought that he had very little if any chance of contracting salmonella. I figured since he was breastfed, didn't go to daycare, and his mom is a germophobe, he was sure to stay pretty healthy. I have learned a lot about salmonella and pesticides since this hospital episode started, though... so I figured I would share with you all - so as to prevent more babies from becoming ill, hopefully.

Here's what I've learned:

Even though breastfed babies are less likely to get Salmonella infections, babies are the highest age group to contract the infection. The most common symptoms of a Salmonella infection are diarrhea and fever, and in a small percentage of children, if not treated early enough, the result can lead to death.

According to research from WebMD, the risk factors for a baby to contract salmonella are highest if:

1. they aren't breastfed.

2. they are exposed to reptiles (they carry the bacteria). [Children under 5 should not touch reptiles and anyone touching them should follow with lots of soap and water!]

3. they ride in a shopping cart - near meat (shopping carts are known for passing on germs, regardless of the meat aisle).

4. they travel outside the USA.

5. they drink liquid infant formula (which kind of seems like a repeat of #1 - but they made a note that this could be related to preparation, storage, or tainted tap water).

6. they attend daycare with another child who has diarrhea (daycare centers are notorious for being germ cesspools - and little kids who are left to play together often swap them).

Baby K is breastfed, but he does eat table food, stick his fingers and anything else he finds in his mouth (like most kids at 14 months)... and he does ride in shopping carts. We have used wipes and antibacterial jelly on our hands after going to the grocery stores and restaurants, but during this hospital stay, the doctor said that .... [NEWSFLASH!!!] HAND GEL DOES NOT KILL SALMONELLA.

The VERY BEST way you can prevent salmonella infection (and most every other bacterial infection) is to wash your hands before you eat.

The question still remains unanswered on whether the recent pesticide treatment that we had in our home had anything to do with this infection in the baby. We do know that it is related to our sinus and asthma problems and have aired the house out since baby got sick. Certainly, there is no conclusive evidence that salmonella and pesticides have anything to do with each other; however, insecticide has been linked to autoimmune diseases.

Children - who live and play near the floor - are much more easily exposed to toxic doses of chemicals. Also scary: insecticide sprayed inside the home takes much longer to break down - causing longer exposure for the inhabitants. There is debate on whether inhalation or skin exposure to blame for causing the development of autoimmune disorders, but the fact that it DOES cause them makes me wonder if it caused the baby to have a weakened immune response to the salmonella he was exposed to. There's the link, in theory.

There are tens of thousands of chemicals, many of which have only been created in the past 50 years and not tested for toxicity that are in the products we use on a regular basis. Chronic illness patterns in kids have dramatically changed over the past century and chemical toxins are known or suspected to be linked to many on the hot-list:

Brain Cancer
Birth Defects
Autoimmune disorders such as Lupus

I may never know if the chemicals we used a month ago contributed to the salmonella infection in the baby's blood, but I can tell you that I won't ever be spraying chemicals in or close to my home or garden again. We will be searching for organic, non-toxic solutions for our fire ant, spider, scorpion and sugar ant problems.

I can deal with a bugs in a less toxic way.

I can wash my hands more and not trust that the hand gel will deliver me from all nasty, evil bacteria.

But I can't live without my little baby Bee. I'm so glad he's getting better.


Unknown said...

I am glad that Baby K is feeling better! I hope that he gets really better fast!!

Musings of a Housewife said...

This is SO scary. Thanks for this information and I'm so glad he's on the mend.

The Mayor said...

I'm so sorry Baby Bee has such a trial, that had to be very scary.

I've always gotten thru my few hospitalizations with my kids being so thankful that they CAN get better. When you look around a children's hospital it's very humbling to know so many kids will never get over their ailment.

darcy @ m3b said...

Get well soon, Baby Bee! Hope you feel better. :)

Amber@ClassicHousewife said...

Oh my goodness!! I can't believe it was salmonella!! Serves as a good reminder for how important it is for all of us, and our kids especially, to wash before eating. I know how imperfect our handwashing habit is around here. We should really crack down on that. I'm sorry poor baby K had to go through all of this. =(

Beverly said...

So glad that our prayers have been answered and that Baby Bee is doing better. He'll be back to making messes in no time! ♥ you all! :)

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear that. HalleluYAH!

Sheri said...

Poor little guy! That is just so scary!

As for pesticides: I am severely allergic to them as is my daughter. In California we used really basic bug killers: Vinegar. I suppose it was more of a deterrent. Spray vinegar around your baseboards and at all entries to the house and the bugs don't cross the line. The smell dissipates after a while.

Now HERE the stupid bugs are much more hearty. I won a Home Bundle kit of Ecosmart (http://www.ecosmart.com/shop/value-bundles.html) all natural/organic bug killers. I'll warn you they are POTENT, as in it smells like you spilled a 2 liter of Root Beer in the room, but they might be something you want to look into.

Jamie {See Jamie blog} said...

Soooo glad he's feeling better, & thank you for this post!

Unknown said...

So sorry to hear about your baby bee. I wanted to share that you can put a few granules of cream of wheat at the entrance site where your sugar ants are coming in and the worker ants will take it back to the queen and she will eat it, it will expand in her stomach and well you get the picture. :^) Safe to have around littles.

Melissa Stover said...

i'm so glad he's on the mend.

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

so thankful that y'all are in good hands. that the bacteria is out of his system. and that he is getting to be his cheerful self again! love y'all!

Sherry said...

So glad the scare is over & he's on the mend. Thanks, also, for the info.

Unknown said...

Poor little Viking!! So glad to hear he's on the mend. Praise God for His mercies!!

Kathy D.

H-Mama said...

So glad he is on the upswing! Precious as ever... (((hugs)))

Karin Katherine said...

I'm so glad that your little bee is well. You are a great mom Heather and it was good of you to share what you learned with everyone else!

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

A lot of great info, I never knew!! I am glad your little boo is feeling better!

mamabearscubhouse said...

oh my goodness! i'm so thankful is on the road to recovery!

thank you for sharing the info, too.


Krystal said...

My goodness!!! I am so glad he is doing better!

We use vinegar, baking soda and peroxide to clean with around here. No worries about toxins in the house. We also use the vinegar for the bugs. The other thing we use is diamateous earth. You can get it at Southern States or other farm/outdoor stores. You sprinkle it outside, inside window casings and any other place that you have bugs. It can be messy inside the house but it isn't toxic and it does the trick.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

So glad he's getting better! :-)

Stacy said...

Sorry to hear that your little one is sick. I'm glad he is on the mend! It is so hard to see our babies feeling bad.

Hope you all feel better and get some rest soon.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope your little one gets well soon. While my son is four, a lot of this applies. Thank you, again, for posting!

Dawn said...

I'm so glad to hear he's doing better! I've been praying for you guys this week. It's always so scary when one of our kiddos gets SO sick. Hang in there!

Dawn Camp said...

That sweet little baby. I'm so sorry you all had to go through this.



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