Topic Overview

Button disc batteries

Button disc batteries are
found in watches, cameras, calculators, hearing aids, and computer games. They
are easily swallowed by children. These batteries, which contain corrosive
fluids, can come apart when swallowed and quickly damage tissue. Some batteries
contain potentially life-threatening amounts of mercury.

A disc
battery can cause burning, corrosion, or complete destruction of tissue in the
upper digestive tract when swallowed. Damage can occur rapidly and is likely to
be worse if the battery lodges in the esophagus instead of moving into the
stomach. Battery fluid can eat through the lining of the stomach, causing pain
and tenderness in the belly, nausea, and fever.

If you think
someone has swallowed a disc battery:

  • Do not cause (induce)
    vomiting.
  • Call your doctor immediately to
    arrange for care.

    • If your doctor is not immediately
      available, go to a hospital emergency room.
    • Medical treatment is
      usually needed within 1 hour of swallowing a battery.

Magnets

Magnets are often found in toys and magnetic
play sets. Magnets can be easily swallowed. They can stick to the bowel and
cause a blockage or a hole to form. If more than one magnet is swallowed, they
could stack together or magnetically join across loops of the intestines and
cause serious problems.

Swallowing a magnet may cause symptoms
similar to other abdominal problems, such as feeling sick to the stomach
(nausea), vomiting, belly pain, or diarrhea.

If you think someone
has swallowed a magnet:

  • Do not cause (induce)
    vomiting.
  • Call your doctor to discuss the
    problem. Medical treatment may be needed.

Objects with lead

Objects that contain a lot of lead (such as bullets, buckshot, fishing weights and sinkers, and some toys) also can cause problems if swallowed.

Lead poisoning may cause behavior changes, lack of energy, or headaches.

If you think someone
has swallowed an object with a lot of lead:

  • Do not cause (induce)
    vomiting.
  • Call your doctor to discuss the
    problem. Medical treatment may be needed.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine

Current as ofMarch 20, 2017

Current as of:
March 20, 2017