Podcast #202: Tide Pods

Author: Susan Brion M.D.

Educational Pearls:

  • Laundry and dishwasher detergent pods resemble candy and can be ingested by children.
  • These tide pods are very highly concentrated and can cause chemical burns of the lips, airway, eyes, mouth and esophagus.
  • The strong bases in detergent pods (pH>12) can cause liquefactive necrosis, which can cause immediate perforation of the esophagus.
  • Common symptoms associated with ingestion of detergent pods include pain, dysphagia, drooling, mediastinal pain, upper airway inflammation. The presence or absence of symptoms does not indicate severity – suspected ingestions should be admitted and undergo bronchoscopy.
  • Mental status should be assessed rapidly because detergent ingestion can lead to CNS depression and aspiration.

References: Bonney AG, Mazor S, Goldman RD. Laundry detergent capsules and pediatric poisoning. Canadian Family Physician. 2013;59(12):1295-1296.


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