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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Swallowed Button Disc Battery, Magnet, or Object With Lead
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.
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:
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:
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:
July 3, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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