Always bear in mind that matches are not edible and will only cause harm to the body. Some individuals who have a disorder known as pica eat non-edible items. It is important to note that young children usually have pica as part of their curious nature and how they explore their surroundings. Even pregnant women can also encounter pica cravings. In case matches are eaten accidentally, there are important considerations to bear in mind since it can cause detrimental effects to the overall health of the individual.
What is pica?
Pica is considered as the persistent consumption of substances such as paint or dirt that do not have any nutritional value. If this condition is suspected, an evaluation by the doctor is important to assess for possible toxicity, anemia and intestinal blockages. If symptoms are present, the doctor will start the evaluation by gathering a medical history and performing a physical exam. Tests that are performed include blood tests and X-rays.
Change in the taste
When an individual eats matches, the taste will be affected in which there is a terrible taste. Take note that matches that are manufactured today are usually made out of potassium chlorate, red phosphorus, and sulfur. The red phosphorus is responsible for igniting the match while the potassium chlorate and sulfur function as the fuel. The moment the match is lighted, the chemical reaction produces white phosphorus that sets off the match. If the individual eats matches, there is a sulfur phosphorus taste in the mouth that is similar to metallic and rotten eggs.
If matches are eaten, the breath will have an odor that is similar to garlic. This is one indicative sign that a child or pet has eaten matches.
Always bear in mind that eating matches will cause abdominal pain. The individual can even experience stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Once matches are eaten, it can cause these effects due to the sulfur and phosphorus which are also used as ingredients in rat poison. With this in mind, matches can be dangerous especially to children. It is important to seek emergency care right away if matches are ingested.
An individual can also suffer from convulsion and eventually into a coma. Based on studies conducted, it was noted that excessive amount of phosphorus over time will reduce the calcium in the body, thus leading to bone loss. Take note that phosphorus basically binds to the mucous membranes in the body. If the body is overexposed to matches, it can lead to serious heart, liver, kidney and central nervous system damage.
Important considerations to bear in mind
Since matches are used at home, it is important that they are properly stored. This is vital especially if there are young children around. Due to the curious nature of toddlers, they will not hesitate to put anything in their mouths. With this in mind, matches must be stored out of reach of children in order to avoid cases where they are accidentally eaten.