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Popular poisons Part 1 (Teacher: Michael)

A patient once rang me to say that his son had swallowed small battery which had been taken out of his camcorder. What would happen? I was defeated.

I had to ring nearest hospital, where antidotes for poisons are in hands of expert. There was possibility that battery might cause obstruction in lad's bowel; but this was unlikely.

Children can swallow extraordinarily large variety of solid objects - coins and even brooches and chunks of modelling plaster.
Usually, one's advice is to wait and watch. But real problem in above case was whether battery contained any rare poisons. It did - over dozen. However, there are many far more common poisons which occasionally even grown-ups swallow as well as youngsters.

There are several reasons for increase in accidental poisoning.

Firstly, tablets which adults can take in safety are left where children - who can't take them safely - can get to them.

In addition, children don't bother about dose. If tablets are pretty and sugary, as is often case, they will swallow dozen or more.

So all medicines should be kept in very safe place; and cupboard out of reach is not always safe. Children are crafty, and they can get up on chairs and reach most impossible places.

In addition, patients do tend to keep tablets and liquids far too long after need for them has gone. There's common idea that - like many other things some of us tend to keep - these tablets "may come in useful".

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