In June 2014, Lucinda realized something was wrong with her two-week-old son, Ezra.
He cried constantly, and Lucinda, who also had a daughter who was two years old at the time, knew the difference between an “I’m hungry” cry and something more serious.
Ezra turned bright red. And when Lucinda took his temperature, he had a 102F-degree (39C) fever. She immediately rushed her son to the hospital.
Ezra had a spinal tap, which showed that he had a listeria infection that had spread to his brain. Lucinda could hardly take in what the doctors told her.
Listeria can spread from mother to child during pregnancy when the mother eats foods containing the bacteria. But Lucinda had no idea about this, and also didn’t know what she had eaten to create this dangerous situation…
Lucinda panicked when her two-week-old son, Ezra, began showing worrying symptoms. He cried all day, his skin turned red, and he was burning up.
Lucinda went with her gut instinct and rushed the boy to a children’s hospital.
A spinal tap showed that Ezra suffered from meningitis, as a result of a listeria infection.
Lucinda was stunned. She thought she had made all the right decisions, eaten right, and read up on everything. She repeated the same routine she had when she was pregnant with her daughter.
So, what caused Ezra’s life-threatening illness?
The guilty party? Cold cuts.
Listeria bacteria easily establishes itself in the premises during food processing. The bacteria can grow in refrigerators and survive in freezers. It can be killed, however, when it’s heated above 160F degrees (70C).
Sliced deli meats like ham and sausages are especially vulnerable to the bacteria, as are cold foods like pates, salads, and stews that are nearing their expiration date. Unpasteurized milk may also contain listeria, so mothers should avoid it throughout pregnancy, according to the the Mayo Clinic.
If Lucinda hadn’t noticed Ezra’s symptoms early on, the situation could’ve quickly gotten bad, and he probably wouldn’t have survived, she says.
Now Lucinda wants to share her story with other pregnant women and let them know about the bacteria that made her son so sick.
Many people already know about the dangers of eating sliced cold cuts, unpasteurized cheese, and vacuum-packed fish during pregnancy, but it doesn’t hurt to share this information. Hopefully, we can help reduces the number of cases and raise awareness about this important topic.
Parents should be aware of the dangers of listeria, as its effects are potentially deadly to infants in the womb. Share this with the pregnant moms in your life and together we can save lives!
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