It may be the season to be jolly but little do we know that Christmas also brings the potential for poisonings, according to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center experts. Here’s a checklist of toxic dangers that lurk in our homes as we get ready all those Christmas crackers and garlands.
It’s not that we are going to let babies drink it. But ethyl alcohol and denatured alcohol is also found in gifts such as perfumes and colognes. ER sees more children due to alcohol poisoning during the holiday season. Kids may drink unfinished cocktails lying around after holiday parties. Because of their small weight, babies are more likely to get alcohol poisoning than are adults.
Children who play with the leaves of this plant and then rub their eyes may experience redness and irritation. Eating poinsettias can cause gastrointestinal and local irritation.
Berries of mistletoe contain toxins that can affect the nervous system, blood pressure and the heart. Babies usually only ingest the berries in small amounts (i.e., one or two berries), so there is no documented cause for alarm or necessity for treatment.
The berries of a few varieties of holly plants are reported to be poisonous. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a slowing down of breathing and heart rate can occur after eating holly berries. Children might also eat the leaves of holly plants. These could also contain potentially toxic chemicals.
This plant allegedly contains toxic solanine. Reported signs and symptoms of solanine toxicity include dilated pupils, salivation, nausea, vomiting, headache, bloating, diarrhea, respiratory depression, central nervous system depression, confusion, irregular heartbeat, coma and death. It is unclear how many Jerusalem cherries would have to be ingested to produce any of these symptoms.
Very little is known about how poisonous this plant is to humans, but it can sure cause allergies.
ESSENTIAL OILS AND FLAVORS
Some ingredients, such as salicylates in oil of wintergreen, menthol, camphor, eucalyptol, and other oils and flavorings, can be extremely toxic if ingested.
Dry ice is composed of carbon dioxide, and skin contact can cause tissue damage, and burns to the mouth can occur from ingestion. Flush the skin with lukewarm water if direct exposure occurs, and give lukewarm water to drink if a solid piece is swallowed.
As a reminder: if anyone has inquiries about other products in their home that may be hazardous, they are welcome to call Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC) toll free at 1-800-222-1222 any time of night or day.