Honey for babies: A dangerous practice.
Honey is used in day to day life to consume it directly or in food to make it sweet. Honey is used especially in South East Asian counties. Thanks to its taste it is liked by many people. As people love to consume honey and they also love their children too they may give honey to their babies too. There are some myths like honey for babies is good. Let us see how honey can harm your baby.
Let us discuss ‘Honey for babies:A dangerous practice’ before that you must have some knowledge about the background and then we will move to further discussion.
· What is honey?
· How is honey consumed?
· How traditional medicine uses honey?
· How people give honey to babies?
· How honey is harmful to babies?
· What is botulism?
· What are signs and symptoms of botulism?
So let us explain in details about honey.
What is honey?
Honey is obtained from the honeycombs. Honey bees and some insect collect the nectar from the plants. Nectar is sweet sugary secretions from the plants that are secreted from the flowers. The flowers secrete this nectar to attract the insect toward them. Insects help them to spread the pollens while they move from flower to flower. Thus plants get help in process of pollination from bees and insects. This nectar is carried by honey bees to their honey combs and there with effects of some enzymes is converted to honey. It is stored as viscous semisolid fluid in the honey comb. It is used to feed the bees and their children. This honey stored in honey combs is extracted by the humans from wild or as commercial activity. Honey is sweet and comparable to sugar used in food. It contains monosaccharide glucose and fructose.
How is honey consumed?
Honey is consumed worldwide. It can be consumed directly as loved by people across the globe. It can be consumed with other food as a sweetener. It sweetens the food so many people like it consume. It can be used in cakes and cookies for children and adults alike.
How traditional medicine uses honey?
Honey itself is considered as medicine in traditional medicine in South Asia. It is used for many common ailments. It is also used as sweetener for the food and traditional medicines. It is given to new bourns and infants also. It is said that it improves the taste buds of the infants.
How people give honey to babies?
As a tradition people give their babies honey by spoon directly orally or they rub on the tongue of the infants. At many places milk is given with honey mixed in it.
How honey is harmful to babies?
Honey is harmful to babies especially babies less than 1 year old. It is harmful to extent is may be life threatening and may cause infant death also.
Honey contains spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. This is bacteria which produces most potent toxin in the world. The spores after getting to the gastrointestinal tract of the infant germinate there. They grow as bacterium producing toxin. Baby may die of paralysis.
What is botulism?
Botulism is a disease caused by infection of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Clostridium botulinum bacteria produces words most potent toxin. It attacks the neurons causing paralysis. This condition is called as botulism.
What are signs and symptoms of botulism?
Like we discussed above botulism is a condition caused by Clostridium botulinum toxin causing patralysis.
Its signs and symptoms are:
· Difficulty in feeding
· Breathing difficulty
· Difficulty in moving limbs as there is paralysis. This paralysis is progressive and increases progressively.
· Finally the muscles used in swallowing, breathing and coughing are paralysed and person or child suffering from botulism dies of suffocation and hypoxia as inability to breath.
These all effects are especially profound in children and babies less than 1 year old. For those less than 1 year old honey is not safe. Botulism can occur in anyone from canned food containing the Clostridium botulinum spores, but babies less than 1 year are affected more commonly. So honey for babies is a myth and should not be believed upon. Strictly avoid honey in babies less than 1 year old.
You can read more about baby vaccination.