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Innocuous Ingestions

Presentation

Frightened parents call or arrive in the emergency room with a two- year-old child who has just swallowed some household product.

What to do:

Discussion

Fortunately, most products designed to be played with by children are also designed to be non-toxic when ingested. This includes chalk, crayons, ink, paste, paint, and Play-Doh. Many drugs, such as birth control pills and thyroid hormone, are relatively non-toxic, as are most laundry bleaches, the mercury in thermometers and many plants. On the other hand, some apparently innocuous household products are surprisingly toxic, including camphorated oil, cigarettes, dishwasher soap, oil of wintergreen, and vitamins with iron. Because both the ingredients of common products and the treatment of ingestions continue to change, broad statements and lists are not reliable. Your best strategy is always to call the regional poison control center.

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from Buttaravoli & Stair: COMMON SIMPLE EMERGENCIES
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Craig Feied, MD
Mark Smith, MD
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