We all love having plants in our homes because they purify the air, look and smell nice, etc, but we should be very careful since there are so many dangerous plants which a loaded with toxic chemicals. In this article we are going to talk about a very common plant that many people around the world have it in their homes, and it is know as Diffenbachia or Dumb Cane. This plant is extremely dangerous because it can poison your children. Its ingestion can cause severe tongue swelling.
There was a case of a nine-year-old boy who was brought to the emergency department with a history of severe irritation, pain in the mouth, difficulty in swallowing and drooling of saliva. His parents noticed him chewing of a portion of a leaf and the stem nearby plant while he was playing in the park. They carried both the stem and the leaf to the emergency departement. The boy experienced severe pain in the mouth and throat with dysphagia. He also experienced severe upper abdominal pain. After just one hour, he developed extensive erythema of the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat with severe swelling of the tongue. The plant was identified Dieffenbachia, and the clinical profile observed matched with the consumption of the leaf of this toxic ornamental plant.
The boy was immediately admitted and treated with intravenous fluids like ranitidine, antacid, analgesics and antihistaminic. The boy was not able to take anything orally for 2 days. After three days, the redness of the tongue reduces, pain abdomen subsided and he was able to tolerate liquid diet. Also the whitish grey slough that had formed on his tongue started disappearing, leaving erythematous, sore areas.after 4 days he was discharged.
Ingestion of this plant that belongs to the Arum family, is associated with the development of intense irritation of mucous mebranes which results in swelling of the tongue, lips and palate. Moreover, it causes severe local injury to the tissue due to the oxalate crystals contained in the plant juice. In severe cases, there may be even airway compromise.
This plant can even cause death if not treated in time. People should be more careful and not overlook the effects that this plant can cause, especially when it comes to their children.
In order to prevent progressive swelling of the tongue and adjacent tissues interfering with the airway, close observation is required. People need to be educated about the effect of this plant before they put it in their homes as an ornament plant.