Botulism: Causes and symptoms

Did you recently get a cut while playing in the park? Have you been experiencing stomach pain, difficulty breathing, and dry mouth since then? These might be the signs of a deadly infection, Botulism. Although very rare, it can be deadly.  

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Read along to know more. 

Botulism, often known as botulism poisoning, is an uncommon but serious sickness that can spread through contaminated food, polluted soil, or open wounds. Without prompt medical attention, botulism can cause paralysis, breathing problems, and even death. 

A species of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum produces a toxin that causes botulism poisoning. These bacteria are widespread, yet they can only grow in an oxygen-free environment. Some food sources, like home-canned foods, offer a favorable environment for breeding. The bacteria secrete a poison (toxin) that can damage the nerve system in your body. Botulism can be lethal if neglected. 


Nobody can contract botulism from another person. To experience the symptoms of botulism poisoning, a person must ingest the spores or toxins through food or have the toxin enter a wound. 

Foodborne botulism: It happens when you consume foods contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores. Bacteria can flourish in improperly stored food. In your diet, the bacteria release toxins as they multiply. 

Foodborne botulism typically arises from improperly preserved or stored handmade canned foods. Store-bought food that has been improperly canned can also cause botulism, though this is unlikely. Foodborne botulism can also come from: 

  • Herbally infused oils. 
  • Cheese sauce in cans. 
  • Packaged garlic. 
  • Tomatoes in a can. 
  • Juices. 
  • Foods that have been improperly heated or left out of the fridge for long. 
  • Fermented foods 
  • Preserved vegetables (green beans, beets, spinach, mushrooms, and others) with low acid content 

Infant botulism: When Clostridium botulinum spores are consumed, your baby’s intestines are where the spores develop and release the toxin. They are typically found in dust and soil. Your infant can breathe in the mud and dust when they become airborne. Honey may also contain spores. In healthy older children and adults, ingesting botulinum spores does not result in botulism. 

Wound botulism: When Clostridium botulinum spores enter a wound, wound botulism can form. The spores can develop and release toxins into your circulation when they enter a wound. People who inject drugs into their veins with needles are most frequently affected by wound botulism. Rarely, it may also appear following surgery or a catastrophic injury. 


After the initial infection, symptoms of botulism can arise anywhere between six hours and ten days later. The symptoms of newborn and foodborne botulism typically start to appear, between 12 and 36 hours (about 1 and a half days) after eating infected food. 

Infant botulism’s early warning signals include: 

  • Constipation 
  • Difficulty feeding  
  • Tiredness 
  • Irritability 
  • Due to muscle weakness, one may exhibit drooling, drooping eyelids, a faint cry, loss of head control, and shaky motions. 
  • Paralysis 

Foodborne or wound botulism symptoms include: 

  • Facial paralysis on both sides of the face trouble eating or speaking blurry vision 
  • Slack eyelids (ptosis) 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting (only in cases of foodborne botulism) 
  • Paralysis 

Are you experiencing symptoms of Botulism? If yes, don’t worry we got you. Call us on +1-347-384-5690. If you need any information on infections, log on to to get a consultation. We have the best doctors that can help you and improve your quality of life!