We always listen: watch out for the palm that you eat outside the house. This has a very strong reason for being called Botulism, a disease that is very serious and can be transmitted by toxic substances that develop in conversations and vacuum packed foods. The Torrego conversation today with Dr. Roberto Figueiredo, Dr. Bactéria, explains a little more about this.

It all starts in the palm heart, when contact with the ground, dirt and dust can bring the bacterium Clostridium botulinum for food. When it goes through high temperatures, it is free and everything is fine. But in the nature version is the problem.

The packaging, which is hermetically sealed and without the presence of oxygen, is the preferred environment of this microorganism – after all it does not need oxygen to survive. Therefore, in these conditions it grows, develops, multiplies … At first, nothing happens to us, humans, if we have contact with these bacteria. The problem is that from them arises a toxin and that yes is super complicated for our body, which can lead to death.

Powerful poison
This toxin is called botulinum and causes botulism. Although rare, this disease has a high chance of being fatal. It is not contagious, that is, it is only person-to-person. And although we associate with the palm heart, it can also be present in other foods in conversation and also in honey – in this case the greatest risk is children up to one year, since they do not have the necessary protection of the intestinal flora to fight the present bacterium there.

As we have already said, it is not the bacterium that causes the disease, it in itself has no effects on the human organism. The problem lies in the toxin that develops from it under certain conditions. When the food is not passed through by proper hygiene, handling, storage and storage, the environment is conducive to the appearance of the toxin.

The problem is that it does not smell or taste, that is, it does not give a warning such as “this food is damaged, keep away”. One simply eats without any suspicion and may be ingesting the venom. Which, incidentally, is one of the most powerful we know on the planet. To get an idea, cyanide, the first poison we think of when we speak of toxic substances, is only lethal in rats at a dose of 10,000 micrograms per kilo. In the case of botulinum toxin, it is able to kill with only 0.0003 micrograms per kilo.

By attacking the peripheral nerves of our organism, it prevents their normal functioning. And between symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, difficulty in breathing, suffocation, impaired swallowing, double vision, flaccid paralysis (when eyes “fall”), and even death.

In addition to the food
But not only dirty and poorly preserved food comes botulism. Another cause are poor skin care injuries. This is because these wounded are the doors to microorganisms to enter our body. And if the injured area has been exposed to this type of toxin, botulism is not exempt.

According to Dr. Bacteria, he has no treatment. Antibiotics may be prescribed, but they hardly have an effect. There are also some specific treatments, but unfortunately the most common of them is the wait. That same thing, expect to happen, which can take ten, fifteen or even 20 days. Hospitalization is almost certain in most cases. In the end, as already said, the symptoms are intense and affect important functions, such as breathing.

But we can, yes, avoid that risk and in a very simple way. Just boil the food at high temperatures for ten minutes. And that’s enough, that’s enough to get rid of the problem, if it’s there.

It is necessary to write down other recommendations:
* Redouble the attention with canned food, in glasses or vacuum packed. We associate botulism with palm hearts, but it pays attention to others as well, like erect, asparagus, corn. Avoid consumption if the packaging is damaged, with spots of rust, stucco or cloudy water.
* Before consuming these foods, boil for about ten minutes.
* Will you keep your own at home? Well, carefully follow all hygiene steps to avoid contamination.
If the food in question is honey, it does not have to boil, but it has to choose those packaged by trusted companies and with seal of approval from government bodies, such as Sanitary Surveillance.

From disease to beauty
Moment, that time all talking about botulinum toxin and what comes to mind is: and botox? In the end, we know that this aesthetic treatment is precisely the application of botulinum toxin in specific nerves to paralyze them and bring a rejuvenating effect.

The confusion that remains is: on the one hand it is fatal, on the other it is beauty treatment. How is that possible? Well, it’s, we’re talking about the same botulinum toxin. The difference is that in this case aesthetic is botulinum toxin type A and is applied in very small doses. It also reaches the nerves, but by the amount, it is a controlled paralysis and so it does not bring health risks.

The use of botulinum toxin type A in medicine began in the 1960s, when the American ophthalmologist Alan B. Scott successfully tested samples of the substance in the extra-ocular muscles of monkeys for the non-surgical treatment of strabismus. With the advance and verification of the studies, it was applied to human beings.

The success of the treatment is given because the substance relaxes the muscles and corrects the problem.

To reach the cosmetic use, the responsible was the Canadian couple Jean and Alastair Carruthers – the ophthalmologist, her dermatologist. In the clinic, they perceived in their clients the improvement of wrinkles in patients treated for therapeutic indications, such as blepharospasm. They began to study, the business evolved and the outcome you know.

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