Kerosene poisoning in kids common, needs medical care: Experts
CHENNAI: The instances of kerosene poisoning among paediatrics are a concern every summer in Tamil Nadu. Government hospitals see about 3-4 cases every month because of children accidentally drink kerosene.
Doctors say that kerosene poisoning can lead to health complications to the lungs and require intensive care.
The use of firewood for cooking is still prevalent in rural parts of the State and that’s why kerosene is readily available in many households. “We see about 3-4 cases every month, mainly from rural areas of other districts and even Andhra Pradesh. It’s very important to bring the child to the hospital at the earliest and no stomach wash is given, as it is likely to increase the risk of damage to the lungs,” said Dr E Theranirajan, dean, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.
When kerosene is excreted through lungs, the pipes can get infected and lead to hydrocarbon poisoning. “Children can experience fits or seizures if there’s kerosene poisoning due to hypoxia that’s induced in the lungs. Kids that consume kerosene can experience chemical pneumonia if not medically treated immediately,” he pointed out.
The Institute of Child Health (ICH) gets paediatrics kerosene poisoning at least twice a month, especially since the hospital gets a lot of referral cases from other districts. However, most referrals arrive late – when the child’s condition is serious.
“The child’s family usually tries to get them treated at nearby hospitals or private clinics, but immediate intensive care is required. People also try home remedies or over the counter drugs to induce vomiting, but this should not be done, as it’d worsen the child’s health condition,” explained consultant paediatrician Dr Velmurugan, ICH.
The State GH’s where most such cases are treated, see kerosene poisoning to be common among lower economic group due to use of firewood for cooking. Also, kerosene is colourless and mistaken for water by children.
“The heart condition needs to be monitored as there can be infection of the myocardium due to kerosene poisoning. There are instances where people come after 2-3 days and the damage to the organs depends on how much quantity has been consumed and how long has it been since consumption,” stated Dr Mohan Kumar, consultant paediatrician, Stanley Medical College and Hospital.
This is common among lower economic group due to use of firewood for cooking. Also, kerosene is colourless and mistaken for water by children
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