New study revealed that consumption of honey is useful in preventing severe damage if button battery is swallowed by child
Majority of household items such as remote controls, thermometers, games, toys, hearing aids, calculators, cameras, and candles have button batteries for power generation. Children can swallow button batteries by mistaking them as food product. If swallowed, these batteries can cause serious injuries resulting into death, as they are capable of burning esophagus in less time. Button battery can trigger a chemical reaction in esophagus resulting in formation of hydroxide-rich, which causes esophageal perforation, vocal cord paralysis, and erosion into the airway or major blood vessels. Although, removal of battery is require to reduce damage, access to skilled professionals for performing such procedures within short time may not be easy.
Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Nationwide Children’s Hospital revealed new approach that can be used at home and clinical setting. As a part of study, effectiveness of various viscous liquids was examined on pig that can provide a protective barrier between the battery and the tissue, while neutralizing the alkaline levels. Team screened several household beverages such as lemon juice, sodas, and sports drinks. It was found that honey was most effective in preventing the damage. The study was published in the journal The Laryngoscope in June 2018.
The study suggests that if a child swallows a button battery, they should be given honey at regular intervals on their way to hospital. However, honey should be avoided if the child is allergic to sepsis or perforation of the esophagus or is less than one-year-old. The also suggest that prevention is better than a cure and button batteries should be kept out of the reach of children in enclosed compartments that require a tool to open in electronic devices.