Symptoms of botulism

Learn about the symptoms of botulism and what to do if you become ill.

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Symptoms of botulism

Symptoms of botulism can include:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • drooping eyelids
  • difficulty swallowing
  • blurred or double vision
  • unreactive or fixed pupils
  • difficulty speaking, including slurred speech
  • partial facial paralysis or loss of facial expression
  • a change in sound of the voice, including hoarseness

Symptoms of botulism in infants include:

  • nausea
  • drooling
  • vomiting
  • irritability
  • a weak cry
  • constipation
  • poor feeding
  • difficulty sucking
  • loss of head control
  • lethargy (tiredness)
  • difficulty swallowing
  • progressive muscle weakness from the head downwards

Symptoms of food-borne botulism typically appear 12 to 72 hours after eating food or drinking beverages that contain the botulinum toxin. However, symptoms may appear as early as 2 hours or take up to 8 days.

Symptoms of wound botulism take about 4 to 14 days to appear.

Symptoms of infant botulism may take up to 30 days to appear.

What to do if you become ill

Consult a health care provider if you or your child have the symptoms listed. If botulism is suspected, a health care provider can refer you for appropriate laboratory testing and treatment.

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