Trichinosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Trichinella. Because the parasite usually enters the body through food, it is also called food poisoning.
Trichinosis is rare in the US, but it is a common infection worldwide.
The parasite can live in the animal or human intestine. Your child may get infected if:
The time between when your child eats food containing the parasite and when he first starts having symptoms of the disease is generally 7 to 14 days. However, it’s possible to start having symptoms as soon as a day after your child eats contaminated food. It’s also possible not to have any symptoms. The symptoms may last just a few days or they may last longer, changing over time.
Symptoms during the first week may include:
Symptoms during the first month after infection may include:
Symptoms by the second month may include muscle pain, weakness, and a general feeling of poor health. These symptoms may last for several months.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Tests may include:
Most children who have a mild infection get better without treatment.
For more severe illness, your child’s healthcare provider may prescribe medicine to kill the parasite. Your provider may also recommend medicine to treat pain and fever.
If your child has a severe infection, he may need to stay at the hospital. Your child’s healthcare provider may prescribe high doses of steroid medicine to help control the symptoms. After 24 to 48 hours of high doses, your child may then need lower doses for several days or weeks at home. Using a steroid for a long time can have serious side effects. Make sure that your child takes the steroid medicine exactly as prescribed. Your child should not take more or less of it than prescribed or take it longer than prescribed. Your child should not stop taking a steroid without your provider's approval. You may have to lower your child’s dosage slowly before stopping it.
Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Make sure that your child takes all medicines exactly as prescribed. If your child stops taking the medicine too soon, the infection may come back. If your child has side effects from the medicine, talk to your provider.
Here are some things you can do to help your child feel better:
Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
These steps can help prevent food poisoning: