baby drinking bottle

Photo by kris_81

 Here's how it went down:

"My son found an old bottle about 8 hours later under his bed and drank it," says combster in Answers. "He's been throwing up since, about once or twice an hour. Is this due to the bottle or just unlucky timing of having a stomach bug?"

Should combster be concerned? Call her doc? What would you do if your child drank old or left-out-too-long milk? I asked Teresa Wagner, and registered dietitian and ambassador for the National Dairy CouncilShould a mom should freak out if this happens?

"Chances are, the child won’t get sick from drinking spoiled milk, but the taste and smell may initiate a gag-reflex," says Wagner, which may explain combster's son throwing up. 

What should we do?

"If the child is vomiting, it is mostly likely due to the taste or smell of spoiled milk.  Rinse his/her mouth out with water and sit calmly until he/she feels better."

What are signs that something more serious is going on?

"According to National Institutes of Health, most cases of food borne illness symptoms resemble the flu and may last a few hours or even several days. See a doctor right away if your child has any of the following symptoms with diarrhea:

  • High fever—temperature over 101.5°, measured orally;
  • Blood in the stools;
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days;
  • Prolonged vomiting that prevents keeping liquid down and can lead to dehydration;
  • Signs of severe dehydration, such as dry mouth, sticky saliva, decreased urination, dizziness, fatigue, sunken eyes, low blood pressure, or increased heart rate and breathing rate;
  • Signs of shock, such as weak or rapid pulse or shallow breathing;
  • Confusion or difficulty reasoning.

 Of course, getting those bottles and sippys back in the fridge as soon as possible -- definitely not leaving them out longer than two hours -- is the best way to avoid all of this. 

At refrigerator temperatures, the microbes normally found in milk are inactive -- a function of pasteurization.

But, when milk is left at room temperature for a long period of time, the microbes “wake up” and start producing acid that makes the milk curdle and smell sour -- and taste absolutely yucky!

Warm milk -- and room temperature juice for that matter -- is also the perfect environment for bacteria that found it's way to the bottle or spout to grow and fester, possibly leading to illness.

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