Button batteries pose danger to elders - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Button batteries pose danger to elders

Button batteries the size of coins (Source: KFDA) Button batteries the size of coins (Source: KFDA)
Eroded button battery (Source: KFDA) Eroded button battery (Source: KFDA)
X-ray with button battery (Source: KFDA) X-ray with button battery (Source: KFDA)
Hearing aid (Source: KFDA) Hearing aid (Source: KFDA)
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -

More cases of adults swallowing button batteries are being seen across the U.S., according to local doctors. 

The Texas Panhandle Poison Center said children are not the only reported cases of accidental battery swallowing.

It's not uncommon to see cases where adults with Alzheimer's or dementia mistaking a battery for medication or a hearing aid and end up swallowing or misplacing it.

"Button batteries are in hearing aids, watches, toys and decorations, those are all hazardous if a child or adult were to get those batteries," said Texas Panhandle Poison Center Managing Director, Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo. "We often don't think about the elderly being exposed to them as well, but there have been cases where adults will misplace the battery in their nose, ear or mouth."

It may take days before symptoms show after someone has swallowed or lodged a battery in their nose or ear.

If you suspect someone has done this, look for coughing, drooling and tenderness.

"Most of the severe cases that we hear about are when it's lodged in the esophagus, if this happens it would burn a hole across through the trachea or into the lungs," Jaramillo said. "There are also other severe cases where the button battery makes it to the stomach or intestines and burns a hole creating what we call a fistula, where liquids can transfer from one place to another where they are not intended and can cause abdominal infection."

Within the last two years, there were over 2,000 reported cases in the U.S. of children and adults swallowing button batteries.

25 percent of those incidents were from the swallowing of hearing aid batteries.

That is the highest percentage of the button battery swallowing reported to the National Capital Poison Center.

"We need to remain alert anytime a child or an elderly adult develop any kind of symptoms that indicate an illness and be sure to have it checked out," Jaramillo said. 

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