It happens more often than you’d prefer, seeing as babies are naturally curious. As long as there are birds, which defecate and tots come across their interesting-looking feces, they’ll put it in their mouths. But what should I do if I think my baby ate bird poop?
Should you catch or suspect that your infant has ingested bird droppings, wash off their hands and faces. Give your baby water and then treat according to the signs of infection that present. You’ll be observing food-poisoning-like symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, or low-grade fever, for which you’ll bring your tot to the doctor.
All it takes is for your baby to pick it up and have a taste, considering how much there is of bird poop around. Your toddler will most likely catch salmonella, a feces-borne bacteria with nasty stomach and intestinal effects. So that you don’t panic and cause more damage, here’s what you should do when your child has swallowed their feathered friend’s droppings.
Is Eating Bird Poop Dangerous for My Baby?
Before taking any online experts’ advice, remember that you’re your baby’s mum. The ultimate responsibility lies with you. There might be a specialist or two among us, but they aren’t your specialists, plus every child is unique. When you feel that something is wrong with your child, seek medical attention. Tests can then be run instead of stabbing in the dark.
So, what’s in bird poop that can make your baby sick? The short answer is very little in there won’t affect your child as it has a multitude of harmful parasites and bacterial making their home in it. Ingesting avian feces is the quickest way for your tot to become infected.
It’s said that bird poop contains over 60 diseases. That doesn’t mean your baby will get exposed to all of them, but you’d rather have information on them for preparedness’ sake. They include;
It’s a lung infection caused by fungi found in bird poop. That’s the only conduit that these microbes use to affect your baby, but their spores are airborne. Unfortunately, this disease can be fatal.
Like I mentioned earlier, salmonella is the most common coliform your baby will be exposed to if they eat bird droppings. The symptoms of salmonellosis mimic those of food poisoning, and it can sometimes degenerate into typhoid fever.
That’s another intestinal infection that’s carried by bird poop. Your baby can get e-Coli even from water contaminated by avian droppings.
I can assure you there’s no reference to Bitcoin here, as this is another lung infection by fungi, Cryptococcus. Found within bird poop, your baby doesn’t have to eat the feces since its spores can be inhaled.
With symptoms that appear flu-like, Psittacosis is another fungal lung infection from bird droppings. The severity of this disease causes multiple internal organ inflammation.
What Happens Once My Child Has Eaten Bird Poop?
You may or may not have realized that your baby ingested bird poop. As such, you’ll not see any signs of infection or illness for weeks. But you can be proactive by keeping a close eye on your baby’s bowel movements as the most common sign of avian feces-related sicknesses is diarrhea.
Remain calm and keep your child hydrated, as panic only causes your baby stress. If you think your tot is in immediate danger, take them to the emergency room or speak with a pediatrician as soon as you can. In many cases, infant illnesses have a way of turning severe quickly, and tests run so your doctor can pinpoint symptoms to treat.
Your baby undertakes a course of antifungal medication if the doctor identifies Cryptococcosis and Histoplasmosis. Antibiotics are used for bird-dropping-related diseases caused by bacterial, such as salmonella or e-Coli. Other illnesses by parasites will require specialized treatments which target the microbes.
What Is Clostridium Difficile?
The worst you can expect from your baby eating bird poop is if they have a preexisting condition. A compromised immune system is prone to a bacterium called Clostridium difficile. It can cause a lot of trouble if your baby is less than three months old, was born premature, or suffers another illness.
With recurrent infections on the rise, C. diff, as it’s called, affects over half a million Americans each year. The mild form shows symptoms of watery diarrhea with abdominal tenderness and cramps. Symptoms will continue with three or more bowel movements for at least two days.
Alongside stomach cramps and pain Clostridium difficile’s severe variety makes your child dehydrated, exhibiting symptoms that include;
- A rapid heart rate
- Blood in stool
- Appetite loss
- Increased white blood cell count
- Swollen abdomen
- Kidney failure
I’ve only listed these severe symptoms for your reference. By the time your baby is diagnosed with mild C. diff symptoms, they’ll be on medication to prevent even more extreme manifestations of the infection. These include toxic megacolon or enlarged colon, sepsis, and intestinal inflammation.
How Can I Prevent My Baby from Eating Bird Poop?
Unlike animal poop, bird droppings are unique. They’re watery and can fall onto a wide area, drying fast and turning powdery. That’s where your tot comes in touch with these feces. These droppings harbor bacterial and fungi whose spores get released into the airflow within your home.
There’s little you can do if your baby eats avian droppings accidentally while outdoors or in the park. Eating bird poop doesn’t guarantee that your tot will get sick, especially if it’s from a pet avian caged indoors. These however still carry a risk of psittacosis or parrot fever, allergic alveolitis also called bird fancier’s lung and salmonellosis.
To prevent your child from infections by your pet’s droppings;
- Wash your hands after touching bird poop and before coming into contact with your baby
- Don’t let your baby near bird cages or droppings in your yard
- Take your pet birds to the vet if they appear sick
- Clean out cages regularly, so fecal powder or fungal spores don’t spread into your home
- Don’t allow birds or their poop near food preparation or eating areas
- Never wash bird cages or equipment in the kitchen sink or near baby supplies
Babies will taste anything and then consider whether it tastes good enough to eat again. Bird poop is everywhere, especially outside where you have no control of where droppings drop. If you catch your tot eating what appears like avian fecal matter, wash it off, give them water and cross your fingers.
If your tot has a weakened immune system, take them for tests. Otherwise, you can wait until the stool turns watery or develop stomach pains, a cough, and fever. At this point, your baby is in danger, and immediate medical assistance is necessary.
I’m Cathrine and I’m a 39-year-old mother of 3 from Utica, New York. And I’m extremely happy you’ve come to visit my hide-out on the web. Here I post about everything related to family-life and usually it will involve babies and lessons I’ve learned over the years from experts, friends, and my own mistakes. So hopefully you will find what i write fun and informational!