Bengaluru: Accidental consumption of toxic substances, especially among children, is a major concern and city doctors claim they see an average of 3-4 such cases per month.
The commonly ingested toxic substances include harmful chemicals, acids, pesticides, oils, paints, medicine, camphor and button batteries. They lead to pneumonitis, food pipe and gastric erosions, encephalopathy with seizures, liver and kidney injury.
Recently five-year-old Abhaas (name changed) was rushed to a private city hospital after he had accidently consumed naphthalene balls. He was vomiting recurrently and there was a sudden onset of paleness, bluish discoloration of body and decreased urine output.
On examination, it was found that he had very low oxygen levels in the body and was getting drowsier. Further evaluation revealed that he had developed severe hemolysis and methaemoglobunemia secondary to naphthalene ball poisoning and deficiency of G6PD (an enzyme required for normal functioning of RBCs).
“Fortunately, Abhaas was saved on time. He received blood transfusions to correct severe anemia. In next few days methhaemoglobulin levels showed a gradual decrease and hence there was an improvement in oxygen and saturation levels. He was discharged after complete recovery in four days of PICU stay,” said Dr S. P. Senthil Kumar, Consultant Pediatric, Neonatal & Cardiac Intensivist, Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield.
Hemolytic anemia is to extensive RBC cell disruption leading to oxygen deprived state in the body. While in methaemoglobunemia, hemoglobin becomes abnormally functioning further adding on to severe hypoxia to the tissues. G6PD deficiency perceives no symptoms, but if exposed to certain medications (as in this case of naphthalene balls) causing oxidative stress, may lead to bursting of RBCs....