Honey Pacifiers Trigger Infant Botulism Alert by Health Officials

Health Officials Urge Texans to Not Give Children Under 12 Months of Age Honey

Honey Pacifiers Trigger Infant Botulism Alert

The Texas Department of State Health Services is warning parents and other adults not to give babies pacifiers containing honey after four babies were treated for botulism in Texas. Each infant had been given a honey-containing pacifier purchased in Mexico.

The four illnesses occurred from mid-August to the end of October and caused all four babies to be hospitalized for life-saving treatment. The unrelated infants are residents of West Texas, North Texas and South Texas.

What is Botulism?

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.  When ingested, the bacteria releases a toxin which attacks the body’s nerves and can cause difficulty breathing, paralysis and even death.

What is Infant Botulism?

As we grow and develop, we acquire more “good” bacteria in our bodies to fight any that may be damaging and make us much more resiliant to getting sick.  However, as infants are still in the process of of acquiring these natural internal superheros, they must be shielding from potential threats until their system is ready.  For this reason, infants are are particularly vulerable to infant botulism with 90% of the cases ocurring in babies less than 6 months old. Botulinum spores may be found in dirt and honey which, if consumed, the spores can germinate into bacteria within their small intestine. 

Avoid botulinum

Infant Botulism and Honey

According to medical experts, a baby’s intestinal microflora (normal flora) is not sufficiently developed to ingest botulinum spores. As spores of the bacteria, found in dirt and dust, can contaminate honey, it’s best to wait until a child is one year old (12 months) before they may consume it.

“The DSHS issued a health alert today asking health care providers to look out for cases of infant botulism and to remind parents not to let babies eat honey. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics have long advised that children under 12 months old should not consume honey.”

Quality honey is rich in antioxidants and delivers a wealth of health benefits, however, it’s best to not give it to any infant under 12 months of age.

 

Infant Botulism Alert

The Culprit: Honey-Filled Pacifers

“Honey-filled pacifiers, chupones con miel in Spanish, are not common in the United States but may be available in some specialty stores and through online retailers. Most aren’t designed for the honey to be consumed, but some have a small hole so a child could eat the honey, or the pacifier could accidentally rupture or leak. Parents should also avoid pacifiers containing any other food substance, because they could also pose a risk of botulism.” – The Texas Department of State Health Services.

Botulism Symptoms in Infants:

Symptoms in infants often include:

  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Generalized weakness (the “Floppy” baby syndrome)
  • Poor feeding
  • Drooling
  • Weak cry
  • Poor head control
  • Poor gag and sucking reflex

Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency

If you are ever in need of quality emergency care, you will not have to wait in line at Altus Emergency Centers. All of our ERs are fully equipped and open 24/7.

Altus Emergency Centers Texas is Here for You 24/7

altus emergency 24 hr ER Texas

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies.  We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times.

How to Avoid the Flu

Bypass the Misery of Flu Season

How to Avoid the Flu

The dreaded flu season is fast approaching, and we know nobody wants to feel miserable for 2 whole weeks, and if you are a parent then you know it is going to be a domino effect, one by one everyone in the household will fall ill.

The flu isn’t a simple cold, the symptoms are much more severe and for those individuals who are high-risk: adults over the age of 65, children under the age of 6, women who are pregnant or anyone with a chronic disease like diabetes, asthma, or cardiovascular disease, complications from the flu can prove deadly.

As part of our ongoing commitment to help the members of our community stay healthy and avoid the flu (influenza) and other viral infections, the medical staff at Altus Emergency Centers would like to share some important facts and safety tips to avoid getting bedridden this season.

Not so Fun Facts About the Influenza Virus

Flu-Virus

Know the Flu Facts

  • The flu is caused by various strains of the virus that mutates constantly, this is the reason why a new flu vaccine is released every year.
  • It is estimated that anywhere between 140,000 to 710,000 people are year are hospitalized due to the flu.
  • The CDC estimated that the number of deaths associated with the 2017 – 2018 flu season at 80,000 which was a significant increase in relation to the previous years 2015-2016 which was between 12,000 and 56,000.
  • As of October 27th, 2018, the CDC has reported a total of 185 pediatric deaths for the 2017-2018 season.
  • The flu virus can travel up to 6 feet with every time someone infected coughs or sneezes.
  • An individual can be contagious 1-4 days before symptoms manifest and can remain contagious for another 5-7 days after symptoms begin.

How to Avoid the Flu Season Blues

The flu is a viral respiratory illness.  This means that anyone can easily become ill by coming into contact with airborne droplets from an infected individual.  Due to the fact that contaminated droplets can travel up to 6 feet when someone coughs or sneezes, it is very difficult to avoid contact altogether, but there are ways to safeguard yourself and your loved ones to avoid the flu.

Get Vaccinated as Early in the Season as Possible

You can still contract the virus from someone else up to 2-weeks after getting vaccinated, so early vaccination is important.

The yearly flu shot will protect you from 3-4 flu strains that are predicted to cause the most damage that year. Also, it can help you recover from the illness faster, often avoiding 2-4 days in bed.  Most importantly, it helps prevent serious complications from the flu such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear or sinus infections.  The small prick of a needle is better than days or weeks of agony.  Avoid the flu by getting vaccinated early on each year.

Become Obsessed with Good Hygiene

Avoid the flu and other viruses by washing your heads with soap and water frequently.  This is especially important when you are at work, or after riding public transportation, as you could come in contact with the virus and not know it.

Teach your children to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, and not to share food and drinks with their friends.

If you don’t have access to soap and water, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good substitute, also keep antibacterial cleaning towels handy, so you can clean your desk and other surfaces with regularity.

Take Good Care of Yourself

A healthy immune system will be instrumental in helping your body avoid and fight the flu virus. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, a recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University concluded that getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night decreases the chances of getting a cold or flu by 30%.

How do I avoid the flu by being healthy? We recommend that you maintain a well-balanced diet, avoid fatty foods, and too many sweets that are plentiful this time of year, make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Also, make sure to stay away from other bad habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol in excess.

When Should You Visit the ER?

Altus Emergency Doctors ER

Regardless of how careful you are, sometimes getting sick with the flu is unavoidable, and unfortunately, the symptoms will make you feel miserable for a few days, but, there are some warning signs that could signal flu complications that will require medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, these are not normal symptoms of the flu, if you experience them it could be something more serious such as an asthma attack, or pneumonia.
  • Chest Pain, this could be a signal heart disease, and you should get immediate medical care.
  • A persistent cough especially one accompanied by phlegm, if you notice blood in your phlegm, go to the nearest Altus ER Center immediately.
  • If you are suffering from confusion or sudden dizziness, there are several reasons why you could be feeling this way, so, it is best to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional.
  • Severe and persistent vomiting, this could lead to dehydration, and you may require intravenous fluids.
  • Pain or trouble swallowing, although a sore throat can be a symptom of the flu if you experience severe pain or have trouble while swallowing, it could be you have strep throat.
  • Persistent fever, a fever lasting more than 3 days could mean you have a bacterial infection and require antibiotics.
  • If your cough, fever, or other symptoms return in the second week after the onset of the flu or if your symptoms never get better and instead become worse, you may be developing pneumonia.

Altus Emergency Centers is here for you during the worst of the flu season and the rest of year 24/7.  We hope you don’t fall victim to the flu virus this year, but if you do, and you show any of the above signs, visit your nearest Altus ER.  We will be here to nurse you and your loved ones back to health and enjoying the upcoming holidays.

Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency

If you are ever in need of quality emergency care, you will not have to wait in line at Altus Emergency Centers. All of our ERs are fully equipped and open 24/7.

Altus Emergency Centers Texas is Here for You 24/7

altus emergency 24 hr ER Texas

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to get you well fast in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times.

Texas Influenza Awareness Day 2018

Health Officials Urge Texans to get a Flu Shot Now

Today is Texas Influenza Awareness Day

As flu season begins, the Texas Department of State Health Services encourages everyone 6 months old and older to get vaccinated now to protect themselves from getting the flu. Early vaccination is important because it takes about two weeks for the body to make flu antibodies after the vaccine is administered.

“This year, there are many different flu vaccines available, and they have all been updated for this flu season. The nasal spray flu vaccine, also known as FluMist, is once again on the list of recommended flu vaccines for the upcoming flu season,” said Dr. Jennifer Shuford, DSHS Infectious Disease Medical Officer. “There are also special flu vaccines designed for people 65 years and older. Your doctor can help you figure out which vaccine is right for you.”

influenza symptoms

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

People with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, young children, older adults, and the people who live with them should get vaccinated in order to minimize the risk of developing serious complications from the flu. Caregivers should get the flu shot to protect themselves and to prevent spreading the flu to the vulnerable people they care for in their families and communities.

influenza symptoms

What is Influenza and How Can it be Prevented?

Influenza is an illness caused by one of a number of related viruses. Symptoms usually start suddenly and include fever, body aches, chills, a dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches and extreme fatigue and can last a week or longer. It is important to note that not all flu sufferers will have a fever.

People can help stop the spread of illness and reduce their chance of catching the flu by getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if they’re sick. Additional flu information and tips are at TexasFlu.org.

Influenza symptoms

Which Flu Strains Does this Vaccine Cover?

All flu vaccines this season are made to protect against viruses similar to the strains

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1),
  • A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2) and
  • B/Colorado/06/2017 (B/Victoria lineage).
  • Some vaccines include an additional vaccine virus strain, B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage).

People can contact their health care provider, local health department, local pharmacy or use the Vaccine Finder at TexasFlu.org to find out where flu shots are available.

Health officials encourage people to seek treatment promptly if they are experiencing flu symptoms. Antiviral drugs may help shorten the duration or lessen the severity of the flu if started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

influenza symptoms

More Information on Influenza Awareness, Prevention & Complications

At Altus Emergency Centers, we believe in spreading awareness to help protect and prevent complications that can result from the influenza virus.  For more information on the influenza virus, what it is, how to prevent it, treatment and complications, please feel free to browse the following:

Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency

If you are ever in need of quality emergency care, you will not have to wait in line at Altus Emergency Centers. All of our ERs are fully equipped and open 24/7.

Altus Emergency Centers Texas is Here for You 24/7

altus emergency 24 hr ER Texas

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies.  We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lufkin, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times.

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