Accidental Ingestion

health watch

As a medical professional, it is disturbing to come across the numerous cases of reported poisonings, especially in the incidents of “Accidental ingestion.”

Accidental ingestion in this context means the unintentional consumption of a potentially harmful substance. This may occur due to curiosity or simply because the product was easily available. In many cases children and household pets are harmed, but mentally challenged individuals may also be at risk. The elderly are prone to accidental ingestion, by misreading labels on the medicine containers.

The toxic substances mentioned in many incidents include pesticides used in gardening, household cleaning agents and medicines. The accidental ingestion of these products has been highlighted as due to poor supervision, use and storage. Their effects are damaging and often irreversible, ranging from oesophageal burns (in the food pipe), cardiac changes, seizures and even death.

There are preventative measures that can be taken to protect your family against this. Allah Ta’ala is the best planner; however as insaan we must do our part too.

  1. 1) “Keep out of reach of children” and other curious individuals
  2. 2) Keep these agents locked away and supervise the use of the products
  3. 3) Keep these substances in their original containers. NEVER put toxic substances in food containers eg spirits in cool drink bottles.
  4. 4) Do not describe medicines as sweets or juices
  5. 5)Educate your loved ones about the dangers of accidental ingestion.

In the event that this does occur :

  1. 1) Be calm. Do not panic. Do not delay.
  2. 2) Turn the patient onto his side, so that if he vomits it will exit his body and not choke him. Do not induce vomiting. This may cause further harm, in the cases of certain substances.
  3. 3) Place an emergency call to the local Doctor, Hospital or poison center. Have these numbers available at ALL times.
  4. 4) When passing on information, relevant information includes:
  • * Patient age and weight (if it is a child and if available)
  • * Type of substance ingested
  • * How long ago the substance was consumed (approximately)?
  • * Assess the patient. Is he awake, sleepy or comatose? Is he breathing?
  • * Has anything being done to the patient so far?
  1. 1. Follow the instructions that you are given by the health personnel.

Never overlook the instructions that accompany medicines or any other potentially toxic substance.

Remember that “ Prevention is better than cure”.

By-Sister Ayesha Vadia Moola

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