More children are ending up in the ER after ingesting tiny ‘button’ batteries

So-called button batteries, those little lithium batteries used to power all sorts of consumer devices commonly found in the home, are being ingested by small children in ever-increasing numbers, according to a new study published this week. week in review Pediatrics. Children under five were most at risk, the study found, especially toddlers between the ages of one and two, who often put things they find in their mouths.

Despite public information campaigns warning parents of the dangers, about 7,032 emergency room visits were made as a result of battery-related injuries from 2010 to 2019, the study notes. That’s more than double the number of visits from 1990 to 2009, in half the time. Button batteries were responsible for injuries in more than 87% of visits in which the type of battery could be determined, according to the study.

The new study analyzed data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which tracks emergency room visits to more than 100 hospitals in the United States. The analysis found that battery ingestion accounted for the majority (90%) of these battery-related ER visits, followed by putting batteries in the nose (5.7%), ears (2, 5%) and the mouth without swallowing (1.8%).

According to the National Poison Control Center, button cell batteries, of varying sizes, power an array of things in and around the home, including:

• Car keychains

• Connected watches

• Calculators

• Step counters and sports trackers

• Digital thermometers

• Portable games and toys

• Light up bouncy balls

• Spoken and sung books

• Audio Greeting Cards

• Hearing aids

• Mini remote controls

• Penlights

• Laser pointers

• Flameless candles

• Flashing jewels

• Holiday ornaments

Even after being removed from the device they are powering, lithium button cells still carry high current. When the battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, the saliva can interact with the current, causing “a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours, creating a perforation of the esophagus, paralysis vocal cords or even erosion of the airways or major blood vessels,” warns a pediatric hospital in Philadelphia.

The National Poison Control Center says larger button cell batteries — such as 20mm diameter lithium batteries, which often carry one of three codes: CR2032, CR2025, or CR2016 — pose the most serious risk. “If swallowed and not removed quickly, these batteries can kill or burn a hole in your child’s esophagus,” the Center says.

Button batteries in the nose or ear should also be removed immediately to avoid permanent damage, advises the Center, as they can cause perforation of the nasal septum or eardrum, hearing loss and paralysis of the facial nerve.

In 2010, one-year-old Emmett Rauch ate a button cell battery that had fallen out of a DVD player remote, according to his parents, Karla and Michael Rauch. “The battery literally burned a hole in his esophagus into his trachea (airway), allowing bile from his stomach to flow back into his lungs,” the couple shared on the website of Emmett’s Fight Foundation, a foundation in nonprofit they started to educate other parents about the dangers of button batteries. The drums also burned Emmett’s vocal cord nerves, and he had to undergo six surgeries over five years to repair the damage, including replacing his entire esophagus using part of his intestine.

Signs of battery ingestion can make it look like the child has swallowed a coin, so beware, experts say. Typical behavior may include wheezing, drooling, coughing, vomiting, chest discomfort, refusing to eat, or gagging when trying to drink or eat. But for some children, like Emmett Rauch, it can take days before symptoms are severe enough to be noticed.

If you think your child has swallowed a battery or put one in their nose or ear, don’t wait for symptoms to develop, doctors say. Immediately call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666. Also, don’t give your child anything to eat or drink until an X-ray can confirm the pile has moved beyond the esophagus, notes the National Poison Control Center.

Record number of young adults using marijuana and psychedelics

According to an annual survey supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the use of marijuana and hallucinogens among young adults hit an all-time high last year, after leveling off in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

The online survey of people aged 19 to 60 was conducted from April to October 2021. Reported past year use of marijuana and hallucinogens by young adults aged 19 to 30 increased significantly increased in 2021 compared to five and 10 years ago, reaching historic highs in this age group since 1988, according to the Watch the future investigation.

The growing use of marijuana among young adults was particularly notable, according to substance use research experts. The survey found that 43% of people aged 19-30 said they had used cannabis in the past 12 months, up from 34% in 2016. In 2011, that figure was 29%. Daily marijuana use (defined as 20 or more times in the past 30 days) also jumped significantly, from 6% to 11% in 2011. Increases in use also occurred among people aged 35 at age 50, according to the survey.

Experts say the normalization of marijuana has helped persuade many young people that it is harmless, noting that the rise in marijuana use has occurred alongside an increase in the number of states that have legalized marijuana. recreational use. Over the past decade, 19 states have legalized marijuana while 13 others, including Florida, now allow the medical use of cannabis.

A similar dynamic is also at work with psychedelics, experts say. Hallucinogen use had been stable for decades, but in 2021, 8% of young adults reported using psychedelics. While this number may seem low, it represents a significant jump from 2011, when only 3% reported using psychedelics, and this is a record since the category was first added. in the annual survey in 1988.

“Increased media coverage and social media discussions about the potential therapeutic value of ketamine, psilocybin mushrooms and ecstasy have helped break down long-standing taboos that have been nurtured during the failed war on drugs,” the researchers say of the trend.

Experts say that, overall, the results reflect a number of disparate trends affecting young Americans. They include the devastating effects of the pandemic on mental health; the increased availability of legal marijuana; and the emerging therapeutic adoption of psychedelics to treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other psychological issues.

“What they are telling us is that the problem of drug addiction among young people has gotten worse in this country and that the pandemic, with all its mental stressors and disorders, has probably contributed to the increase. says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which publishes the annual report Watch the future investigation.

Study: Religion linked to better heart health in black Americans

Research has consistently shown that the health of blacks and African Americans in the United States is generally worse than that of non-Hispanic whites, and that death rates from cardiovascular disease are higher among African American adults than among white adults. While there are a number of reasons for these health disparities, new research shows that a person’s faith can play a positive role in their cardiovascular health.

According to a study published last week in the Journal of the American Heart Association,

Black and African American adults who participate in frequent religious activities or who hold deeper spiritual beliefs are more likely to score higher in indicators related to good heart health than those who do not.

The researchers found that “the more religious participants” had better scores for blood pressure, cholesterol and other parameters known to influence cardiovascular health. Attending religious services, for example, was associated with a 15% higher likelihood of achieving an “intermediate” or “ideal” composite heart health score, which includes eight measures including diet, physical activity , sleep and exposure to nicotine.

The study examined the survey responses and health screenings of 2,967 African Americans between the ages of 21 and 84 living in the tri-county area of ​​Jackson, Mississippi, an area known for the strong religious beliefs of its people. inhabitants. The analysis did not include participants with known heart disease.

According to the study’s lead author, LaPrincess C. Brewer, MD, participants were grouped based on self-reported religious behaviors by health factors. The researchers then estimated their chances of achieving their heart disease prevention goals. Dr Brewer says they were surprised by the findings that multiple dimensions of religiosity and spirituality were associated with improved cardiovascular health “across multiple health behaviors – some of which are extremely difficult to change. , such as diet, physical activity and smoking”.

A hypothesis ? The practice of religion and the behaviors associated with better cardiovascular health—such as following doctor’s recommendations for behavior change, not smoking, and not drinking excessively—require discipline, awareness, and the will to follow the advice of a leader.

Dr. Brewer says their findings highlight the important role that culturally appropriate health promotion initiatives and lifestyle change recommendations can play in promoting health equity. “The cultural relevance of interventions may increase their likelihood of influencing cardiovascular health as well as the sustainability and maintenance of healthy lifestyle changes,” she says.

Keywords: button cell batteries, lithium batteries, marijuana use, psychedelic use, religion and health