How does the incidence of caustic ingestions vary by age?

Updated: Dec 09, 2020
  • Author: Derrick Lung, MD, MPH, FACEP, FACMT; Chief Editor: David Vearrier, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

Approximately 80% of caustic ingestions occur in children younger than 5 years. Liquid ingestions can be quite serious. Critical solid ingestions are rare, because children generally do not swallow the burning particles that adhere to their oropharynx, but disk batteries and detergent pods are exposures that deserve particular attention in pediatric patients. [4, 5]

Most intentional ingestions occur in adults. Adult exposures have greater morbidity than childhood exposures because of the often higher volume of the exposure and the presence of possible co-ingestants. Occupational exposures often are more severe than other exposures because industrial products are more concentrated than those found in the home. [6]


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