Every year more than 15.000 cases of salmonella in children under the age of 4 are reported in the US. Infants are most likely to get infected with salmonella, compared to all other age groups.
There are several factors that make the difference if a baby contracts salmonella or not:
Breastfeeding protects against most infectious diseases and thus breastfed babies are much less likely to get salmonella. Breastfeeding is so much easier than bottle feeding – and much less work. Think how much more hygienic it is than all those dirty bottles left behind.
Babies that are exposed to reptiles like turtles, snakes or lizards are more likely to contract salmonella. Please note, you should not have reptiles as pets in your home if you have children under the age of five. Go and visit a zoo if you are into reptiles.
If you put your infant into a shopping cart next to raw meat and poultry, he is more likely to get infected. So remember always to carry with you disinfectant wipes and clean the area where your child will sit. Put the unsafe items away from your child.
Babies that drink concentrated liquid infant formula are more likely to get infected. There might be several reasons for that. For once, the formula might not be sterile, or the company did not use clean and boiled water. Whatever the reason, just remember to stick with powdered formula or much better, breastfeed your baby.
A baby that attends a daycare center is more likely to get salmonella than if the child would stay at home. Point out to the caretakers that hygiene is very important to you. Check if they reinforce proper hand washing and proper diaper disposal.
Whatever the reasons, if your baby contracts salmonella, keep him dehydrated. The diarrhea he gets is not very dangerous. But it could get very dangerous if the bacterial infection gets into your baby’s blood. That could then be potentially life-threatening. This can cause pneumonia, meningitis, septic arthritis or a bone infection. So whenever a very young child has severe diarrhea, get to an emergency room as soon as possible. The quicker you treat the much better chances you have for a quick recovery.
To sum up:
Breastfeeding is the number one thing you can do to protect your baby. Not only in connection with salmonella.
The next important tip is to avoid contact with any reptiles. (50% of all reptiles are carriers of salmonella bacterias.)
Always buy quality food, especially eggs. Serve the eggs completely cooked and never poached or sunny-side-up.
Always use disinfectant gel or wipes when you are out and about in the supermarket using a shopping cart. You just don’t know what might have been in contact with the child’s seat or in general with the cart.
Don’t offer foods like raw cookie dough, chocolate mousse, ice cream that contains eggs,… to your infant.
One last thing, did you know that you cannot pass salmonella through breastfeeding to your child.