The consumption of honey by babies and children under 1 year is not recommended, due to the risk of botulism due to spores of the bacterium clostridium botulinum.

There is no doubt that honey is an extremely healthy food, recommended within a varied diet especially as a substitute for sugar (a much less healthy sweetener option and therefore recommended). In fact, it is only necessary to pay attention to its different qualities and benefits to realize why it is even considered a superfood: from a nutritional point of view it is very rich in vitamins (A, C, D, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6) as well as trace elements (copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, calcium, manganese, sodium and iodine).

In relation to its most important properties, its use as a natural product against flu and colds is very interesting , by helping to soothe and relieve sore throat and cough, it provides an antimicrobial and antiviral antioxidant action, and also helps to increase defenses. On the other hand, it is also useful for the skin, helping to relieve fatigue, heal wounds and hydrate the skin, as well as being suitable to promote skin moisture.

However, despite all these properties and benefits, if you have children you should bear in mind a clearly clear warning: the consumption of honey is not suitable for babies or children under 1 year of age. The reason? It may contain spores of a bacterium known as clostridium botulinum, which tends to cause botulism. These spores can germinate in the baby’s digestive system, causing this rare disease.

What is botulism?

It is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by botulinum toxin. This is a bacterial neurotoxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which has the ability to multiply within the digestive system of the baby or young child.

Although it’s most common cause is the consumption of honey or corn syrup, the truth is that these spores can also survive in poorly preserved or poorly canned foods, such as canned vegetables, pork, cured ham, and raw or smoked fish.

What are your symptoms?

Botulism symptoms tend to appear between 8 to 36 hours after consuming contaminated food. Unlike other conditions, fever does not occur, but the following symptoms may occur:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness and loss of muscle tone
  • Constipation
  • Crying and weak sucking
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty to swallow
  • Lack of expression on the face

If you observe any of these symptoms in your baby or child, it is very important to go urgently to a health center, or to your usual pediatrician.

Is it a serious infection?

As we indicated at the beginning, it is sometimes a serious infection that can cause death, by complicating it, producing prolonged weakness and dysfunction of the nervous system.  In infants there is a 5% mortality.

However, when treatment is given early, the risk of death is reduced.


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