Kerosene Poisoning In Children
Iraqi Postgraduate Medical Journal,
2009, Volume 8, Issue 4, Pages 350-355
Accidental kerosene ingestion is the commonest cause of poisoning and its subsequent mortality and morbidity in children less than five year of age in developing countries. Low socio- economic status and frequent use of kerosene for cooking, lighting and heating are the major cause.
To study the epidemiology, presentations and radiological appearance of kerosene poisoning in children.
A prospective study comprised fifty patients, who were admitted with accidental kerosene poisoning into children welfare hospital in medical city complex /Baghdad. In the period from the 1st of January to the 31st of august 2008. History was taken from the relatives on a specially designed questionnaire. Every patient was examined completely concentrating on symptoms of cough, dyspnea, cyanosis, drowsiness, vomiting, and fever. Chest X-ray was done to every patient after 6-8 hours from the time of ingestion. White blood cell count was done to 39 patients within the 1st 24 hour of admission. Fisher's exact test was considered for the statistical analysis with a significance level of P < 0.05.
Of the fifty admitted children, 86% of them aged between 1-3 years, 31(62%) were boys, the majority from poor and crowded families, and the kerosene ingested, in the majority, from small containers. The most common presentations were cough (96%), fever (94%) and dyspnea (80%).Vomiting which occurred in 90%, had a significant association with the development of pneumonitis the major radiological abnormality was right lower lobe infiltration in 16 patients (32%). The major complication was pneumothorax, pleural effusion and respiratory failure. Fever appeared in 94% of the patients in the first 24 hours, lasting 2-7 days. Pneumonitis occurred in 42 patients who were diagnosed clinically and radiologically. All patients improved except one who died.
All the kerosene poisoning was accidental, occurred in children under five year of age. Ignorance and poor storage of kerosene played a big role in the kerosene ingestion process. The respiratory system is the main target involved. Vomiting playing a role in the development of pneumonitis.
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