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Childhood Poisoning
2018-05-20 737 Views

Childhood Poisoning

 

Childhood Poisoning

Introduction

The term poisoning means cells are injured or destroyed by inhalation, ingestion or absorption of a poisoning substance. Children are curious and try to explore their world with all their senses, including taste. Curiosity and the desire to put everything in their mouths place young children at considerably higher risk of exposure to poison than adults. Children are inclined to eating or drinking anything regardless of how it tastes. They tend to like things that smell good and are naturally drawn to attractive packaging and the colorful substances that are found in commonly found household items. When children are exposed to poison, they are more likely to suffer serious consequences because they are smaller (have less body mass), have faster metabolic rates and their bodies are usually not capable of neutralizing toxic chemicals. More than 90% of poisonings occur within the home environment and many common household products can poison children, including cleaning supplies, alcohol, plants, pesticides, medicines, detergents, cosmetics. Substances which are normal for adults like cigarettes and tobacco can prove to be harmful and toxic for children.



Statistics

1.     In 2004, acute poisoning caused more than 45,000 deaths in children and people overall under 20 years of age. That is almost 13% of all fatal accidental poisonings around the world.

2.     In 16 of the world's high and middle-income countries, poisoning is the fourth largest cause of unintentional injuries and fatalities.

3.     Fatal poisoning rates in low and middle-income countries are up to four times higher than that in high-income countries.

4.     Common poisoning agents in high-income countries include pharmaceuticals, household products viz. bleaching agents, pesticides, poisonous plants and insect and animal bites.

5.     Common poisoning agents in low-income countries and middle-income countries are fuels such as paraffin's, kerosene, cleaning agents, medicines and other drugs.

6.     Fatal childhood poisoning rates per 100,000 population by WHO region and country income level, 2004 is shown below (Source: World Health Organization)

 

Africa

America

SE Asia

Europe

Eastern Mediterranean

Western pacific

LMIC

HIC

LMIC

LMIC

HIC

LMIC

HIC

LMIC

HIC

LMIC

4

0.8

0.3

1.7

0.2

2.0

0.7

1.6

0.1

1.8

 

LMIC: Low-Middle Income Countries; HIC: High Income Countries


Effective Prevention Approach

1.     Removing the poisoning agent from the environment

2.     Replacing the poisoning agent with one of lower toxicity (Eg. Replacing Aspirin with paracetamol)

3.     Legislation and enforcement of child-resistant on packaging of necessary poisonous agents.

4.     Establishing a poison control Centre to triage poisonings, dispensing the accurate device to care givers and health facilities on time, directing first aid/ care where appropriate, and referring more severe poisonings to treatment at a clinic.