Risks of giving minced meat to children under five years of age

If there is a dish that all children love in general, it is the hamburger. And is that minced meat is a very simple way for parents to start offering the smallest pieces of meat without fear of choking. What would you think if I told you that you should avoid continuing this practice if they have a young child? These are the risks of giving minced meat to children under the age of five.

It is very common that for cultural reasons the meat that we usually prepare for consumption is cooked medium. The texture and therefore the taste is different and makes it more palatable to some people. The detail is that this practice is not really good for our body, especially when we mince this meat and offer it to children, since it can have serious consequences and it is very important that you know them.

The consumption of minced meat, cooked or poorly cooked, implies health risks that you may not know and there are really many. Is the fearsome hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is nothing more than an entity that encompasses a series of conditions that include: acute renal failure (that is, kidney failure), hemolytic anemia and a decrease in platelets (which is known in medical terms as thrombocytopenia).

The cause, as we mentioned above, is due to the consumption of undercooked minced meat. This can cause an infection by a bacterium known as 'Escherichia Coli', which produces a toxin called shiga, which travels through the blood to different organs of the body (it goes to the blood vessels where there is an alteration of platelets and, later also travels to the intestine) which causes the child to have diarrhea (sometimes with the presence of mucus and blood). By last, goes to the kidneys where it causes the failure of this organ.

Those affected are generally children up to eight years of age, with an average of 2 years of age. The most common symptoms are, in addition to those already mentioned (diarrhea), weakness, paleness, abdominal pain or fever. They may also present reddened skin lesions, which are known as petechiae, and a decrease in the amount of urine. Sometimes, at least, generalized swelling can occur and, in some cases, they can lead to convulsions.

Prevention is essential and, for this, we recommend:

- Carry out proper hand washing before and during food preparation with soap and water, before eating and at the end.

- Cook the meat correctly, since when cooked well, the toxin we talked about before, E.coli- Shiga, is inactivated (it is recommended to cook the meat above 70 degrees and that no pink or red parts are left in it).

- Properly wash kitchen utensilsIf a single knife is used to cut meat and vegetables, it must be washed thoroughly before cutting another food.

- Keep food covered and refrigerated.

- Must be avoid offering hamburger ground beef to children under 5 years old, especially the one that comes ready in packaging.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome is serious, and as we explained at the beginning, it seriously affects the kidneys. If diagnosed in a timely manner and appropriate treatment initiated, recovery is achieved. In fact, a very small percentage of children end up with chronic kidney failure, although yes, when suffering from this condition they are children who will need dialysis or kidney transplantation.

He hemolytic uremic syndrome It is more common than you think, and it is not only produced by the consumption of raw minced meat, it can also be produced by the consumption of unpasteurized milk and dairy products, and, above all, by food that has been contaminated by contact with feces.

For all these reasons, the preventive measures that we mentioned above are important to avoid contagion. And, another important point that we want to mention to you, is that you do not self-medicate your child. If you have symptoms, do not hesitate to consult your doctor.

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