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Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.read biographyclose window
Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.Jay Hoecker, M.D.
Dr. Jay Hoecker, an emeritus member of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, brings valuable expertise to health information content on primary care pediatrics. He has a particular interest in infectious diseases of children.
He's a Fort Worth, Texas, native, certified as a pediatrician by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was trained at Washington University's St. Louis Children's Hospital, and in infectious diseases at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has been with Mayo Clinic since 1989.
"The World Wide Web is revolutionizing the availability and distribution of information, including health information about children and families," Dr. Hoecker says. "The evolution of the Web has included greater safety, privacy and accuracy over time, making the quality and access to children's health information immediate, practical and useful. I am happy to be a part of this service to patients from a trusted name in medicine, to use and foster all the good the Web has to offer children and their families."
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Infant botulism: Can it be prevented?
How can I protect my baby from infant botulism?
from Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.
Infant botulism is a rare but serious gastrointestinal condition caused by exposure to Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum) spores. Bacteria from the spores can grow and multiply in a baby's intestines, producing a dangerous toxin.
To protect your baby from infant botulism:
- Don't offer your baby honey. Wild honey is a potential source of Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum) spores.
- Be careful when canning food. Pressure-cook home-canned foods to reduce the risk of contamination with C. botulinum spores. Consider boiling home-canned foods for 10 minutes before serving them.
- Store food safely. Discard any food that could be spoiled. Also toss food containers that seem suspicious or appear to bulge.
- Avoid exposure to potentially contaminated soil or dust. Soil can contain C. botulinum spores, which can circulate in the air and be inhaled into the lungs. In North America, the risk is greatest in Pennsylvania, Utah and California — states in which soil botulinum spore counts are high. Exposure to contaminated soil is most likely near construction and agricultural sites, or other areas where soil is disturbed.
Constipation is often the first sign of infant botulism, typically accompanied by floppy movements, weakness, and difficulty sucking or feeding.
If you suspect your baby might have infant botulism, seek medical help immediately. Prompt treatment with the botulism immune globulin — a substance given through the baby's veins to work against the botulism toxin — can help prevent life-threatening complications of infant botulism.
Antibiotics aren't helpful in the treatment of infant botulism.Next question
Air travel with infant: Is it safe?
- Bodamer OA, et al. Neuromuscular junction disorders in newborns and infants. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 21, 2012.
- Pegram PS, et al. Botulism. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 21, 2012.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0755-7..00202-5&isbn=978-1-4377-0755-7&uniqId=319300810-4#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0755-7..00202-5. Accessed March 21, 2012.
- Botulism. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/botulism/#prevent. Accessed March 21, 2012.