Supportive care is provided to anyone with botulism. This may include hospitalization, use of a ventilator to help with breathing, and nursing care. Recovery can take many weeks as paralysis slowly improves.
While there is a botulism antitoxin and immune globin therapy, they are not approved for sale in Canada and are currently only available through Health Canada’s Special Access Program.
The antitoxin works by neutralizing botulin. However, the antitoxin needs to be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis. The medication can't repair nerve endings already damaged. This means that while you may survive, you will be temporarily left in the state you were in at the time the medication was administered. That may mean paralysis, sometimes to the point of being unable to talk or even swallow.
The good news is that you'll recover, because new nerves can grow to replace those that were killed. However, this is a slow recovery process and it may take weeks or months, even up to a year, for this to occur.
The antitoxin is generally not given for infant botulism.
For wound botulism, antibiotics are given in addition to supportive care.
Preventing botulism is usually possible. However, if you prepare and store a lot of your own food, you may be creating unnecessary risk. The C. botulinum bacterium is anaerobic, meaning it likes airless environments. This is why you can get foodborne botulism out of a can. Very few cases of botulism arise from commercially canned food. Most occur when individuals can their own products.
Botulin toxin has been found in North America in these foods:
- baked potatoes
- canned corn
- chicken, chicken livers, and liver paté
- garlic-in-oil dressing
- green beans
- luncheon meats
- ripe olives
- smoked and salted fish
- stuffed eggplant
- tuna fish
Only highly acidic foods are safe from C. botulinum. Freezing will shut down toxin production, but a fridge isn't cold enough. The following food handling procedures can help you to prevent foodborne botulism:
- Preserved food should be heated to a temperature above 100°C (212°F) for at least 10 minutes during the canning process.
- Cook food at 79.9°C (176°F) for at least 30 minutes. This usually destroys toxins.
- Do not eat or store cooked foods that have been at room temperature for 4 hours or more.
- Do not eat foil-wrapped baked potatoes that have been left at room temperature, and do not store chopped garlic or onions in oil at room temperature.
- If eating home-canned food, boil it first with frequent stirring for 10 minutes.
- Do not feed honey to infants less than 6 months old.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Botulism