Poinsettias are poisonous

Poinsettias are slightly poisonous - caution is particularly important for small children.

Poinsettias are particularly popular in the Christmas season. Although the varieties available in Germany, unlike wild plants, are hardly toxic, children who have accidentally eaten the leaves of poinsettia should be rinsed out of their mouths immediately and a doctor should be consulted if in doubt. Ulrich Fegeler, Federal Press Officer of the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ).

Poinsettias can cause abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea While the wild forms of poinsettia originally from Mexico contain the milk juice typical of the milkweed family, which can cause skin irritation when in contact with the skin and lead to poisoning-like symptoms and indigestion when ingested in the mouth, the cultivated ones , commercial poinsettia varieties rather harmless. “The poinsettia belongs to the spurge family. Some contain skin-irritating diterpenes, but the poinsettia does not. Therefore, it cannot be called toxic, ”Professor Regina Karl from the University Hospital Düsseldorf already told the“ Süddeutsche Zeitung ”in 2007. If children have eaten the leaves or stems of the Christmas plant, poisoning-like symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting and severe diarrhea can still occur, Dr. warns now Ulrich Fegeler from the professional association of pediatricians. In addition, contact with the plant sap can trigger allergic skin reactions, the expert continues.

Although poinsettias are classified as "hardly toxic" in their cultivated form, parents should rinse their children 's mouth immediately after they have eaten parts of the plant and, if they come into contact with the plant sap, wash off the skin thoroughly to avoid allergic reactions, explained Dr . Ulrich Fegeler. If "the child is particularly sensitive to the plant (reacts), then parents should always seek medical help," the Federal Press Officer of the BVKJ continued. If necessary, the poison emergency call can also be contacted at short notice, the specialist emphasized.

Avoiding poisonous houseplants in toddlers Since toddlers first put a lot of things in their environment into their mouths and try them out, parents should "always warn them not to put any parts of plants in their mouths," explained Dr. "It is best for families with small children to do without some plants altogether," the expert continues. Here a gardener can provide information about which plants are suitable, emphasized Dr. Fegeler. Poisonous indoor or winter garden plants that should not be within the reach of small children are, for example, angel trumpets, cyclamen, amaryllis, dieffenbachia, cup primroses, magnificent lilies, orleans and tax authorities, according to the latest press release from the BVKJ. "If a child still eats poisonous plant parts somewhere, supervisors should immediately seek advice from a poison information center or introduce the child to a hospital first aid department," said Dr. "Under no circumstances should you try to make the child vomit," emphasized the specialist. (Fp)

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