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Ingesting honey, lemon juice after swallowing button battery reduces injury

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A team of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists has demonstrated that eating honey after swallowing a button battery has the potential to reduce serious injuries in small children.

Based on findings in laboratory animals, the research suggests that this common household product may significantly reduce morbidity and mortality from highly caustic batteries.

Because of their size, candy-like shape and shiny metallic surface, button batteries have posed a risk for toddlers for decades.

When the battery reacts with saliva and tissue of the esophagus, it creates a hydroxide-rich, alkaline solution that essentially dissolves tissue.

Children with an esophageal button battery may present with symptoms of sore throat, cough, fever, difficulty swallowing, poor oral intake or noisy breathing.

This can cause severe complications like esophageal perforation, vocal cord paralysis and erosion into the airway or major blood vessels.

The longer it takes for the battery to be removed, the higher the risk for these children, particularly those without access to hospitals with specialized anesthesiologists and endoscopists experienced in removing foreign objects.

The study was published online in The Laryngoscope.

The team screened various options, including common household beverages such as juices, sodas, and sports drinks, in laboratory experiments.

Prior published studies by this team had tested weakly acidic liquids like lemon juice as a proof of concept. However, many children do not enjoy drinking lemon juice.


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