Battery Ingestion First Aid

Over the years, battery-operated gadgets have been proven to be useful. And, with the advancement in technology, industries are able to produce high-performance batteries that meet higher power requirements. Moreover, batteries are also used to power electronic toys. These kinds of batteries are usually disk batteries that contain mercury, zinc, silver, cadmium, nickel, and lithium. They also contain sodium hydroxide or potassium.

In some cases, batteries have caused accidents to people especially to children. This happens when these objects are swallowed accidentally. Because of this, parents are encouraged to learn the basics of battery ingestion first aid so that they will know what to do when accidents (such as battery ingestion) happen.

Basic First Aid For Battery Ingestion

Battery ingestion: health effects

In most cases, battery ingestion does not cause major problems (89.9% of the time). However, batteries that are stuck in the esophagus must be removed right away. This is where battery ingestion first aid can be applied. By doing so, you will be able to prevent the worsening of the patient’s condition.

Symptoms of battery ingestion

People who suffer from battery ingestion often show symptoms like gagging, vomiting, low-grade fever, abdominal pain, irritability, drooling, difficulty in breathing (especially when the battery obstructs the airway), bloody or dark stools, and rashes (from metal allergy).

What to do

Before doing a battery ingestion first aid to the patient, see to it that you are mentally and emotionally stable. Immediately call for emergency medical assistance. Keep in mind that you need to stay with your patient until help arrives. If available, bring the battery package with you. The information about the ingested battery may help health care providers in treating the patient. In most cases, the patient will also be advised to have an x-ray immediately.

Keep the patient safe

While waiting for emergency medical assistance, see to it that you are able to keep the patient safe and free from further threats. Never attempt to induce vomiting in the patient. In some cases, this can worsen the patient’s condition. For example, if the battery has safely passed through the stomach, vomiting may cause it to return to the esophagus and can block the patient’s airway. Furthermore, do not let the patient drink or eat anything until an x-ray has been done.

Follow-up after x-ray has been done

If the x-ray shows that the battery is stuck in the esophagus, an endoscope will be used to remove it as soon as possible. On the other hand, if the x-ray shows that the battery is in the stomach, the patient may not need further medical treatment. However, if the patient develops fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, or blood in the stool, call your doctor immediately to avoid any complication from happening.

Preventing battery ingestion

As effective as battery ingestion first aid may be, it is still best to prevent accidents like battery ingestion. See to it that you are able to store batteries (especially disk batteries) inside containers that are childproof. For battery-operated toys and gadgets, see to it that battery compartments are properly secure and taped shut. Lastly, never store battery containers and medicine boxes together as shapes and sizes of batteries and medicines can sometimes be similar.


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