Over the past month, there has been a spurt in cases of stomach flu and food poisoning in children. After the shocking incident at International French School, where students and staff fell ill after eating at the canteen, there is another prestigious institution embroiled in a fresh controversy.
Food Poisoning in Children: 106 Pre-Schoolers Develop Gastroenteritis Symptoms
Post the incident, a joint statement was issued by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).
“All affected children have recovered and the majority of them have returned to the pre-school. One child was hospitalised and has since been discharged,” they said. The authorities are currently investigating the incident.
An ECDA spokesperson stated that the agency is monitoring the situation and working with the pre-school operator to ensure the wellbeing of the children and staff members.
SFA has time and again reminded food operators to maintain utmost hygiene. But incidents like the above highlight greater need to monitor hygiene and safety checks in schools.
Unfortunately, food poisoning in children can in some cases be life-threatening. As parents, we know that our immunity in our kids is at a developing stage, therefore, they are more prone to infection. We have listed down some major symptoms and the precautions that you need to take if your child suffers from food poisoning.
Food Poisoning In Children: Symptoms To Watch Out
Image courtesy: iStock
In case of food poisoning in children, you will notice common symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, mild fever, nausea, and / or fatigue.
Generally, these symptoms get aggravated or remain mild, depending on the severity of the infection. They can last for as little as one hour to as long as 28 days. So its best to stay alert and keep a close watch on your child, should he/she exhibit any of these symptoms.
Here are some of the severe symptoms to watch out for:
Diarrhoea that lasts for more than three days
Fever doesn’t settle and is higher than 101.5°F (38.3°C)
Children are also more prone to dehydration. You will be able to spot this if you find them with a dry mouth or with no or little urine.
In case you spot these symptoms, it is advisable to take your child to the paediatrician immediately. Most often doctors may suggest over-the-counter medicine. While that takes time to help your child, ensure that your child gets enough sleep and is hydrated, in the meantime. A combination of the two can help your child recoup faster.
As for food safety and to ensure this doesn’t happen again, here are five things you can remind your child about food safety, especially when eating out.
5 Ways To Keep Your Children Away From Food Poisoning
1) Educate them about good hygiene habits
Teach your children about the importance of following good hygiene. Tell them to wash their hands before and after they finish a meal. You should also them to wash their hands and face with soap or face wash after they come home from outside.
Slippers and shoes they usually wear outside shouldn’t be worn inside the house. They need to be kept them outside the house or in a separate shoe rack. This helps to minimise the risk of bringing home more infections.
2) Keep your house clean
Keep your house clean always. Image courtesy: iStockphoto
The importance of a clean house cannot be stressed enough. While it is not always possible to keep the room spick and span, some basic cleaning must be done on a regular basis.
This includes washing utensils regularly, cleaning the floor, dusting furniture and removing animal dander, among others. Also avoid giving your kids soft toys as they attract a lot of dust and regularly sanitise and wash their toys to ensure it is clean.
3) Eat more home-cooked meals
Wash your fresh vegetables thoroughly in water before cooking. Image courtesy: istockphoto
We all like gorging on junk meals and restaurant food. They can be good occasionally, but not on a regular basis. Teach your child the importance of home-cooked meals and how they help build muscles and brains. Instead of asking them not to eat or drink, tell them about the benefits of that particular food group.
Introduce your kids to lots of fresh fruits, and vegetables. You will be amazed to see how quick your child finishes broccoli when mixed with pasta!
4) Avoid eating raw food
Raw food, like meats, eggs and fishes have a higher risk of infection if it is not cooked properly. Therefore, in order to avoid the risk of food poisoning in children, cook your meals thoroughly. Most infectious viruses and bacteria get killed during the cooking process
Also, keep the utensils and crockery separate for both meats and vegetables. This will avoid the risk of cross-contamination. Wash your fresh vegetables before eating.
Exercise is another way to keep your child’s body and mind healthy. Make small changes to your lifestyle. Ensure that they switch off electronic gadgets an hour before they sleep. Also, take them out in the garden for some physical activity such as jogging or running or cycling.
News source: CNA