What is Philodendron Poisoning?
- Philodendrons form a large group of leafy plants that mostly grow on the surface of other larger plants and trees (called epiphytic growth). Philodendrons are found in hot-humid conditions and are mostly used as ornamental garden plants
- Philodendron Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the plant or plant product containing the compound calcium oxalate
- 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)
Philodendron Poisoning may be also referred to as Philodendron Toxicity.
What are the Causes of Philodendron Poisoning?
- Philodendron Poisoning is caused by eating parts of the philodendron plant
- This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
- The poisonous part of the plant is calcium oxalate and is chiefly found in the leaves and stem. However, all parts of the plant may be toxic
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 Philodendron 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 Philodendron Poisoning may include:
- Powerful burning sensation in the mouth and throat, when consumed
- This may lead to blisters in the mouth
- Swelling of the mouth and tongue, which may affect the functions of speaking and swallowing
- Burning sensation, tearing from the eyes
- Nausea, vomiting
How is First Aid administered for Philodendron Poisoning?
First Aid tips for Philodendron 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:
- Medically manage symptoms
- Provide breathing support, if necessary
- Gastric lavage for elimination of the substance from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
- Administer laxatives for elimination of the compound from the body
- Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of the substance in the body
- Wash skin and eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining hazardous compound
- Following this, a suitable skin or eye ointment may be used to treat the exposure
- Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line, if necessary
Who should administer First Aid for Philodendron Poisoning?
First aid for Philodendron 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 Philodendron Poisoning?
- The prognosis of Philodendron 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 Philodendron Poisoning be Prevented?
Philodendron 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
- 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