Tiny batteries – a hot-button topic
Did you know that many symptoms that come from swallowing a button cell battery mimic flu symptoms? More and more devices use batteries to power them, and from TV remotes to hearing aids, batteries are getting smaller, harder to keep track of, and for little ones, easier to swallow. With Christmas right around the corner, chances are good that someone in your household will receive at least one battery-operated gift.
The National Capital Poison Center in Washington, D.C. operates a hotline for battery ingestion emergencies. It’s 202-625-3333. You can call collect if necessary.
Just how dangerous is a swallowed battery? An electrical current can form around the outside of the battery, generating hydroxide, which burns tissue. Also, according to the National Capital Poison Center, young children and elderly people may place button batteries in their noses or ears, which can cause permanent injury.
ABC News recently reported on what can happen when a child swallows a small lithium battery. The report says that a tiny battery can cause severe tissue damage and other serious complications in as little as two hours.
What to do if anyone ingests a battery
- Immediately call the 24-hour National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 202-625-3333 or your poison center at 1-800-222-1222
- If you can, be ready to provide the battery identification number, which should be on the battery’s packaging or in the battery compartment of the toy.
- In most cases, you’ll need to get an x-ray immediately. Hotline specialists can help you determine if an immediate x-ray is required.
- Do NOT induce vomiting or eat or drink until the x-ray shows the battery is beyond the esophagus.
The above tips are from the National Capital Poison Center at poison.org, where you’ll also find more info.
Keep your family safe this holiday season!