520 North Third Ave Sandpoint, ID 83864

 (208) 263-1441

Make Sure You Can Digest What You Ingest

In the 1920s some college guy was bragging that he had swallowed a live goldfish. His fellow Harvard students bet him $10 that he couldn’t do it again. He did and a craze was born. As far as I can tell, no harm was done to any of the players, and in one case no harm was done to the fish as just last year, the swallower threw them up and they reportedly live a happy life now with his grandmother.
Then I read about millennials eating Tide Pods. Really? I wouldn’t eat a goldfish, but I do eat sushi, but who would think it was a good idea to swallow detergent? According to New York Magazine, it was a hoax.
“By and large, the jokes about eating Tide Pods are just that: jokes,” NYM says. “There are very few people “eating” Tide Pods; the people who are “eating” them are really just biting into them and spitting out the detergent.”
Really? Even a few people should know that detergents should not ever be ingested. The toxicity can be deadly. So, before we go any further with this article, I want you to put this number into your phone: 1-800-222-1222. That’s the Poison Control Hotline.
When you or one of your children puts something in their mouth that isn’t a real food product, call that number and an expert in poison information will assist you.
“These specialists in poison information are available to take your call and to provide expert medical guidance in poison emergencies 24 hours a day. You can call with questions about poison, too, not just poison emergencies.”
Up next, I read an article from Providence Health Services about children eating crayons.
“A lot of drawing tools are formulated for kids to enjoy. For instance, most children’s crayon or colored pencil packs are scented to mimic certain fruits or foods. Some children are curious to see if their orange crayon really does taste like an orange while others take a bite just to see what happens,” Kirsten Crowley, MD a pediatrician and medical director at Providence Medical Group said.
Teething children may just want to bite down on something; others may have an oral fixation where they have a constant desire to put objects in their mouth.
“Kids with oral fixation also tend to be less socially mature than other kids, so if your child has a problem with separation, this may be the cause of their fascination with eating crayons,” Crowley explained.
Maybe social maturity had something to do with the goldfish swallowers? That’s a topic for another day. Anyway, Crowley said that in most cases crayons are non-toxic and eating them is harmless and the most common outcome is rainbow-colored stool.
“However, eating excessive quantities of crayons means ingesting large amounts of wax that can eventually lead to intestinal obstruction,” she said and she also advised parents to consult with their pediatrician if it appears that the child is addicted to eating crayons.
Preventing poison from getting into the wrong mouth is a challenge not only for children but for adults as well. In our neck of the woods people often enjoy foraging for mushrooms and if you’re an expert on the subject, why not?
“It is never safe to eat a wild mushroom unless a mushroom identification expert says so,” Poison.org says. “It is important to watch children playing outdoors so they don’t eat mushrooms; after all, to a child it just looks like dinner!”
Some poisonous mushrooms will just cause vomiting and diarrhea, others can cause hallucinations and coma. “A few cause no effects right away, but can damage the liver; a liver transplant may be necessary to survive,” Poison says.
Also, cooking won’t render them safe, in fact you can be poisoned by breathing in the cooking fumes of some poisonous mushrooms.
There are dozens of poison prevention tips on the internet. Go to www.poison.org for a great variety of them. And, I can’t say it often enough, if you or a loved one ingest something that you shouldn’t have, go to the emergency department quickly. Time is always crucial.
Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com.

Offline for maintenance

Pay my bill is currently unavailable.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

To make a payment please call our office at 208-265-1158, mail your payment to: PO Box 1343 Sandpoint, ID 83864, or come by the office at 423 N Third Ste 225.