Treatment for Botulism

The treatment of Botulism depends a lot on its type; for example, in the case of Food-borne botulism, the health care provider may first try to clear out the toxins from the digestive system by inducing vomiting. In such instances, medication may also be given to induce bowel movements. Similarly, for wound botulism, the doctor may conduct a small surgical procedure to remove the toxins and the infected tissues from the body. Some of the common methods used in the treatment of Botulism include:

  • Antitoxin: Patients who have been diagnosed with Food-borne Botulism are generally given injections containing an antitoxin to prevent any complications from arising. The antitoxin attaches itself to the toxic substances which are still circulating within the body and try to keep them from harming the nerves. Unfortunately, the damage that has already been done cannot be reversed by these injections.
  • Botulism Immune Globulin: Health care providers do not use antitoxins in the treatment of Infant Botulism because they do not get rid of the disease-causing germs in the baby's digestive system. Instead, a drug called Botulism Immune Globulin is used in the treatment of Infant Botulism.
  • Breathing Assistance: A mechanical ventilator is very important for those who have experiencing breathing problems as a result of paralysis in the facial muscles. The ventilator sends air into the lungs through a tube that has been inserted into the airways, via the nose or the mouth. Patients can be put on to a ventilator for weeks and the effects of the toxins gradually decrease during this time.
  • Rehabilitation: Most forms of treatment prevent the toxin from spreading and causing further damage to the body. However, they do not undo the damage that the body has already been through. Therefore, patients usually need to undergo therapy to improve their speech, swallowing ability and other body functions.