If child swallows battery, get treatment immediately

  • September 25, 2010 - 7:50 PM

Note to pediatricians: Swallowed batteries damage children's insides alarmingly fast and need to be treated as quickly as possible, according to the authors of a study in the September issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Though batteries should not be part of your child's food pyramid, they're increasingly becoming an issue in our high-tech environment. Disc batteries, easily gobbled by a curious toddler, can cause choking. Even worse, the alkaline in the power cells can destroy tissue, and small-voltage electrical shocks can cause internal burns. Researchers found injuries in children treated within three hours of having swallowed alkaline-leaking capsules.

But researchers found a surprising trend among doctors: They described another study showing that more than a third of physicians surveyed weren't concerned about a swallowed battery. That wasn't the worst of it, apparently. "Twenty-two percent would not remove [batteries] even if they were lodged in the esophagus," they wrote.

In their paper, the authors present a protocol to help guide doctors in deciding how to deal with a swallowed battery. Perhaps most important: As soon as the battery is identified using chest radiography, the authors concluded, "emergency esophagoscopy is mandated."


A weighty college text

Daphne Oz, the eldest daughter of heart surgeon and talk show host Mehmet Oz, avoided gaining the "Freshman 15" at Princeton University and lost 10 pounds instead. She first shared her eight tricks to a healthy college lifestyle in her 2006 book "The Dorm Room Diet." This new paperback edition (New Market Press, $16.95) expands to 10 secrets, adding a chapter of recipes and one on "conscious eating" that explains how food choices affect the planet. Oz's target audience of 18-year-old women doesn't need more anxiety about the "Freshman 15" boogeyman, and she does a good job of avoiding that hysteria. Instead, she offers commonsensical but handy tips in a zippy writing style.


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