A new paper published on Monday, February 6th, in the journal Pediatrics talks about the negative effects of heartworm pills and flea medication for pets on a child’s overall health. Every year children turn up in the Emergency Room with accidental poisoning, after ingesting medication intended for their pets.
According to the study’s authors, in Ohio alone, over the course of 15 years, health facilities received more than 1,400 calls for poisoning from pet medication. More worrying is the fact that 87 percent of the patients were children under the age of 5. Kristi Roberts, co-author of the survey and researcher from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio understands that most people see their pets as equal members of their family. However, too may forget that medication is medication, no matter the race, and leave pet meds laying around in the house in places where children could gain access and ultimately ingest them by mistake.
Also, there are more than just one way for the little ones to come into contact with the hazardous substances. For instance, children could pick up and eat pills that have been previously spat out by the family’s pet, or even eat medication-laced food from the animals’ bowls. Also, children who pet an animal who is being treated with a cream or lotion can get it on their hands. Afterward, it is only a matter of time until the kids will inevitably put their hands in their mouths and get poisoned.
The researchers say that the medication associated with pediatric poisoning cases included 17 percent veterinary products that have no human equivalent. Other drugs responsible for getting the little ones sick, which accounted for 15 percent of the total cases had antimicrobial properties. Additionally, 15 percent antiparasitics, and 11 percent analgesics were also responsible for sending kids to the ER.
Doctors say that the majority of the exposures occurred at home, more specifically 95 percent of the incidents, and were fairly easy to treat with home remedies. Fortunately, the poisonings resulted in neither long-lasting health effects, nor did they come with long-term negative consequences.
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