What is Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning?
- Jack-in-the-pulpit (botanical name Arisaema triphyllum) is small plant, about 2 feet tall, that is native to certain regions of North America. The roots of the plant are considered toxic
- Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the plant or plant product containing the compound
- The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)
Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning may be also referred to variously as the following:
- Arisaema Triphyllum Poisoning
- Bog Onion Poisoning
- Brown Dragon Poisoning
- Devil’s-Ear Poisoning
- Dragon-Turnip Poisoning
- Indian Turnip Poisoning
- Jack-in-the-Pulpit Toxicity
- Lords-and-Ladies Poisoning
- Marsh Turnip Poisoning
- Meadow Turnip Poisoning
- Priest’s-Pintle Poisoning
- Swamp Turnip Poisoning
- Three-Leaved Arum Poisoning
- Wake Robin Poisoning
- Wild Turnip Poisoning
What are the Causes of Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning?
- Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning is caused by eating jack-in-the-pulpit plant or plant products
- This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
- The poisonous part of the plant is calcium oxalate that is mainly found in the roots
Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning?
The signs and symptoms can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. The signs and symptoms of Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning may include:
- Powerful burning sensation in the mouth and throat, when consumed
- Swelling of the mouth and tongue
- Tearing from the eyes
- Formation of mouth ulcers that may affect the functions of speaking and swallowing
- Nausea, vomiting
- Decreased response level
How is First Aid administered for Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning?
First Aid tips for Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning:
- Call 911 or your local emergency help number immediately, for emergency assistance
- Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
- Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
- Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
- Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
- Clean the mouth to remove any remaining pieces; wipe mouth with a wet cloth
- Following an ingestion of the substance, immediately give milk to drink
- In case of symptoms that indicate difficulty in swallowing including vomiting or decreased alertness, do not give anything by way of mouth
- If skin exposure or involvement of the eye has occurred, then wash thoroughly with copious amounts of water (for at least 15 minutes)
- Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
- Always try to take the plant or plant product to the ER
The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:
- Monitor vital signs
- Medically manage symptoms
- Provide breathing support, if necessary
- Wash skin and eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining hazardous compound
- Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line, if necessary
Who should administer First Aid for Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning?
First aid for Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.
- The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
- They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions
What is the Prognosis of Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning?
- The prognosis of Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
- If the individual can recover from the symptoms that occur due to mild poisoning, the outcome is generally good, with appropriate medication and early support
- In case of severe symptoms due to severe contact/poisoning, it may worsen the outcome and/or prolong time of recovery
In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.
How can Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning be Prevented?
Jack-in-the-Pulpit Poisoning can be prevented by:
- Avoiding eating wild berries and plants, especially if you have no information about them
- Following working in the garden or fields, hiking, or camping, always wash hands thoroughly, prior to eating anything
- Always follow instructions for usage of any health or cosmetic products
- Keeping cosmetics, medications, and other healthcare products out of reach of children in child-proof containers
- Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)
It is important to give your healthcare provider a complete list of prescription and non-prescription medications that are being currently taken. This will help them in assessing the possible drug interactions within various medications and help avoid/prevent accidental or unintentional toxic drug effects.
What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?
- Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
- Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
- It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
- Type, amount and time of consumption of the substance
- Age and weight of the individual
- And, the overall health status of the individual