Botulism is amazingly uncommon state of our modern world. Omission for operations of food canning and proper cooking to some extent has made it useless for limited amount of outbreaks outside. Apart from this, development of antitoxin and other methods of assisting sufferers have decreased the rate of mortality due to the victims of botulism to a great extent. Unhappily, in a disaster of long- term it is liable that all such safeguards would not be enough anymore and nuisance of botulism may be uncommon to its ugly head. Preppers who believe over durability of canned goods is basically necessary, so let us go through it and see to what can be done for saving you.
Disclaimer: I am neither an expert nor a doctor in canned or canning foods. Always follow correct standard recipes and instructions for canning to reduce probability of botulism in foods. This suggestion is probable some times without the availability of skilled medical care, so do search for a doctor in case of experiencing botulism when society remains unharmed.
What is meant by botulism?
It is neither a virus nor a disease, but is a reaction towards the toxins developed by bacteria named Clostridium botulinum. On one hand it is helpful as the bacteria does not spread like disease, so one person cannot harm the other. On other hand it is not easy to detect the harm caused by toxin for treatment at first.
Botulism causes general weakness but not fever that may causes inaccuracy in the beginning of familiar disease. It does not cause unconsciousness but tiredness, drooping eyelids, difficulty in speaking, muscle weakness even in well aware victims. Further increasing effects of toxin are weakness in legs, arms and basically muscles of chest. Major difference between the two botulism and disease related to weakness is that the patient remains mentally active apart from slight tiredness. They may be physically weak, but their minds remain unclouded and may produce the response to the stimuli in a normal manner. Weakness may affect the automatic muscles and to the ones that are operated at conscious level like arms, botulism may lead to death when it makes it difficult for the body to work.
Basically inability of breathing increases level of carbon dioxide and decreases oxygen in body, it may cause failure of respiratory system and coma when untreated. If antitoxin is accessible then it should not be used for counteracting the effects, though I have not found its use in civilians. If not, it is liable for death (pre- modern medicine have been found to have the death rate of 60 % in adults) till you may somehow help in breathing till the body fights with the toxin.
Wastage of antibiotics and other such medications should be avoided till it is not told by practiced medical person, as they do not cause any helpful effect. Remember you are trying to eliminate the harmful toxins rather than killing bacteria.
There are 2 basic methods of contracting botulism by humans: food-borne botulism is main hazard to preppers due to its presence in the foods that have been stored. Infant botulism kills the infants while ingesting honey due to absence of protective bacteria that saves honey for older children and adults to eat.
Bacteria of botulism simply produce toxins under certain conditions, but unluckily canned goods produce atmosphere of low oxygen which basically triggers toxin. As it is, canned food need to b cooked properly at elevated temperature of 250 degree Fahrenheit or more than that for killing the spores of botulism and should be high enough in acid for preventing the rest of the spores from the release of toxins. This is the reason why foods with low acids should be pressure canned and frequently involve certain juice of acid lemon in their recipes.
Apart from this, you must make sure of it that seals of any canned goods, brought from store or home remain in place and works while opening can of food. Tiny holes of rust may allow new spores to move inside and lead to hazardous bloom in toxin. Make sure of it that you remove the cans that are stuffed (a symbol exact indication of botulism and bacterial gasses) remember that non- bulging cans may also have comprised seals that may prove to be deadly.
If you want to be absolutely safe, boil away all the canned foods for about 10- 20 minutes after being opened for boiling away the toxins as far as possible. Botulism is cruel illness, not the one you would like to experience in case if the grid moves down. Keep the canned goods in the order of working ensuring to keep the rotation constant to make it sure that the old ones are not left away to accumulate rust. Let us go through the comments given below! Please do share your opinion regarding the prevention of botulism.