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Poison Ingestion

more about Poison Ingestion

  • Taking into the mouth, or swallowing, a non-food item which is hazardous to humans
  • Drug Ingestion could fall into this category, as well as items that are neither food nor drug.  See chapter on Drug Ingestion.

  • Symptoms depend on the ingestion.
  • Methyl alcohol: acidosis, vision loss, mental status changes
  • Aspirin: vomiting, metabolic acidosis in the preschool age group
  • Iron tablets: vomiting, possibly gastrointestinal bleeding, Diarrhea, mental status changes, shock
  • Lead: vomiting, Constipation, abdominal pain, mental status changes

  • Well-known poisonings in pediatrics:
    1. Methyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol
    2. Aspirin (salicylates) -- a less common pediatric poisoning in recent years
    3. Iron tablets
    4. Lead, especially from lead paint
    5. Cleaning fluids
    6. Pesticides
    7. Poisonous plants

  • Diagnosis utilizes compatible history, physical findings and laboratory results, and in many cases identifying the poison in the patient's blood or urine.

  • Male child
  • Age group 1-3 years
  • Unlocked items in the kitchen and bathroom
  • Homes that are not child-proof
  • Physically overactive children, children who frequently climb to reach shelves
  • Chaotic family situation or stress in the household, leading to lack of supervision

  • Treatment depends on the ingestion.  Many substances that are not caustics or hydrocarbons can be at least partially treated by induced emesis with ipecac syrup.  Attention needs to be paid to the airway, the breathing, and the circulation.  The patient may need treatment with fluid and electrolytes for acidosis or alkalosis or shock.
  • Methyl alcohol: ethyl alcohol intravenously has been used, as well as hemodialysis.
  • Aspirin: induced emesis and alkalinization of the urine with NaHCO3
  • Iron tablets: gastric lavage with NaHCO3, and chelating agents intravenously
  • Lead: chelating agents intravenously

  • Often, serious organ failure

  • Contact 911, a poison center, or a physician immediately, since prompt aid is essential.

  • Shock
  • Altered consciousness from any cause

more about Poison Ingestion

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