DESCRIPTIONAspirin poisoning is an acute emergency in childhood caused by accidentally swallowing a large amount of aspirin. Adolescents may take a purposeful overdose in a suicide attempt or gesture. There are many aspirin-containing over-the-counter medicines with many different names. If you suspect a child has ingested such medicine, read the label carefully on the container to determine its exact contents.
Appropriate health care includes:
Hospitalization (sometimes) to have the child's stomach pumped out and to give other supportive treatment.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSRapid breathing.
Seizures and coma with severe poisoning.
Kidney excretes excessive amounts of potassium and sodium.
Increased metabolic rate.
Low blood sugar.
Laboratory signs of liver damage.
CAUSESSwallowing more than 95 children's aspirin tablets or 20 adult aspirin tablets.
Swallowing oil of wintergreen.
Curious, adventurous children.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Keep medications out of a child's sight or reach.
Limit the number of tablets per package.
Use childproof caps on all medications.
Urine and blood tests.
Electrolyte studies to test for acidosis, for sodium or potassium depletion, or for low blood sugar.
Measurement of aspirin level in the child's blood.
Can lead to death if not treated quickly and competently.
Fluid accumulating in the child's brain or lungs.
Heart and/or kidney failure.
Complete recovery with appropriate treatment.
After determining how much aspirin your child has swallowed, call your doctor or poison control center immediately!
If recommended by your doctor or the poison control center, try to make your child vomit with syrup of ipecac. This is a non-prescription liquid that you should keep on hand when there are young children at home. Specific instructions are on the bottle. Don't give more than what is recommended on the label. Give 1/2 to 1 full glass of water immediately after the ipecac. Don't give milk or carbonated beverages.
--Ipecac is not recommended for children under 6 months of age.
--Children 6 to 8 months--usual dose is 1 teaspoon.
--Children 8 months to 1 year--usual dose is 2 teaspoons.
--Children 1 to 3 years--usual dose is 3 teaspoons.
You may repeat the dose in 30 minutes if vomiting doesn't occur.
Whether your child does or does not vomit, call your poison control center or physician again within 30 minutes. The child's stomach may need to be pumped.
If none of the above works, transport the child to the nearest emergency facility to have the stomach washed out.
See FIRST AID above.
See FIRST AID.
Your child can resume normal activities when symptoms are clear.
DIET & FLUIDS
None until after treatment (See FIRST AID).
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?After successful treatment.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
You are suspicious of aspirin poisoning.
Your child shows symptoms of rapid, deep breathing, confusion, or unresponsiveness despite treatment outlined in FIRST AID above.