What’s the big deal about kerosene poisoning?

By Ovundah Nyeche

Many times I jokingly tell my friends I have triplets. Well when you have 3 children which includes twins below the age of 5 what else is that called? Lol

Truly speaking, many times I do my reading and prepare for many of my seminars and presentations at work or even in the library, because once daddy steps inside house na full time work don start.

Remove your eyes from your kids and boom something…

We try our best to keep our home as safe as possible, but with kids, safety is also of the Lord.

Years ago, while doing my NYSC in Ekiti State, an unconscious child was brought into the hospital with a crowd following him.

My duty was to wake up the child by fire or by force, unfortunately, those who brought the child were not giving me any useful information.

How long has this child being unconscious… Today!
Fever… Kosi!
Trauma to the head… Kosi!
Vomiting… Kosi!
Convulsion… Kosi!
Last meal… Recently!

It was obvious my talk was taking me to no where, I had no glucometer to check the child’s blood sugar who was barely 3 years old, I decided to treat as a case of cerebral malaria, and I set up everything.

On a 2nd note, the smell from the child’s mouth was somehow, somehow… It was smelling kaikaish.

No…. Wetyn pikin go dey do with Kaikai?

No information was coming forth…

Treatment started and boom grandmother shows from nowhere with an empty Kaikai bottle…

My little patient had looted one full bottle of alcohol and the effect was him lying on the bed unconscious…

Few minutes after commencement of treatment… He was awake.

Handling children is not beans and this brings me to a very important topic “Kerosene Poisoning”.

Wetyn be Kerosene Poisoning?

I am sure we all know what kerosene is, kerosene poisoning without getting too technical is harm as a result of accidentally drinking kerosene.

Kerosene poisoning is very common, as many homes still make use of kerosene and unfortunately kerosene looks like water and unlike petrol is stored in attractive containers, many times bottled water containers or even soft drink bottles.

It is the commonest form of poison amongst children.

Then?

Usually when it happens parents panic and have to do things.

Some of the things include giving the child palm oil, palm kernel oil, crude oil, olive oil, groundnut oil, or putting their fingers inside the child’s throat.

Why?

They do this to neutralize the kerosene, but most especially so the child can vomit the kerosene gulped.

Facts.

Kerosene is poorly absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and the fear is in the kerosene getting to the lungs and this usually happens when the child vomits.

Medical people call this “aspiration pneumonitis”, which is big grammar for the lung tissue reacting to the kerosene in the lungs.

This reaction can lead to fever, the child being breathless, cough, as well as noisy breathing.

The kerosene can also affect the heart, GIT or even the brain or bone marrow.

What do I do then?

  • First don’t panic.
  • Secondly don’t allow the enemy to use you.
  • Thirdly, do nothing at home, yes including suggestions from neighbours except the neighbour is a qualified doctor.
  • Fourthly, halele, go to a hospital, irrespective of the quantity of kerosene swallowed.

In the hospital, the child would be observed, and if needs be a Chest X-ray would be requested and treatment given to the child as needed.

Don’t play a doctor if you are not one, life is not Nollywood.

How do we prevent this?

Let’s call it the 4 As

reduced Accessibility : Hide all kerosene from children. Keep if far from children.

reduced Attractiveness: Don’t store kerosene in attractive containers, and lock the containers properly.

reduced Availability: If you can don’t use kerosene, apart from the issue of poisoning, the issue of burns is a story for another day. Also use only quantities needed.

increased Awareness: Now you have heard tell others.

Again what do I know?

This is the end of my story.

#HearWord #HearWordseries

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