An Approach to Household Toxicological Emergencies in the Pediatric Patient

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Patients with toxic ingestions most often will present to the emergency department (ED) in one of two ways: 1) a well-appearing patient with a known ingestion, or 2) an ill-appearing patient with an unknown or suspected ingestion. This article will present the approach to both of these circumstances, discussing treatment and monitoring of specific overdoses as well as the initial approach to an ill child with a suspected overdose. The focus will be on common and accidental ingestions of toxins by pediatric patients. As such, intentional overdoses by adolescents, iatrogenic overdose, and management of ingested foreign bodies will not be discussed.— Ann M. Dietrich, MD, FAAP, FACEP

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