What Happens If You Swallow A Metal Soda Can Tab
If you swallow a metal soda can tab, it may injure your gastrointestinal tract causing bleeding or any other serious problems. The stomach will try to digest it but metal will not be digested. This could lead to anemia and death. Unfortunately, if you swallow a metal soda can tab, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Aluminum is a far less radioactive metal than others, which is why ingested pop-tops of soda pops and beers may be relatively difficult to detect by radiography, as Lane F. Donnelly observed in his pediatric patient.
|Swallowing a soda can cause breathing problems as they can get stuck in your throat
|It can cause digestive pain and bleeding
|Infection and bleeding
|Sharp metals can damage the thin walls of your esophagus and result in bleeding or an infection in your mediastinum
Swallowing pop-tops in soda and beer became popular, says Lane F. Donnelly, because drinkers would frequently insert the original, removable tabs back into soda or beer cans after opening them, prompted by conservationists who believed that the originals would otherwise become garbage. Their appearance as foreign bodies, along with rampant trashing of those detachable tabs, has encouraged development of the currently used stay-on-tabs, which are designed to stay attached once a can is opened ( ). Nearly 35 years ago, the accidental ingestion of beverage cans with removable tabs by children led industry to ensure can safety, and to develop the stay-tab, a device that remains attached to a can following its opening. About three decades ago, drink cans with the pull tabs began being replaced by the stay-tabs, after studies determined children were swallowing them.
One study found two cases of accidental ingestion and one of aspiration following children swallowing the pull-tabs dropped in a can. One research study revealed two cases of accidental ingestion and one case of aspiration after children swallowed pull-tabs that had been dropped into the cans. A retrospective study determined radiographic identification of can tabs was demonstrated in 20% of cases, only in cases where an ingestion tab was located in the stomach .
Despite being metallic, X-ray investigations have a poor negative predictive value for evaluating aluminium drink can tabs, particularly when suspected ingestion is involved. The low radiodensity of aluminum makes aluminum pull tabs challenging to detect.5-7 Other technical factors, such as the setting and orientation of radiographs for aluminium-containing objects, may also hamper detection. In some cases, the foreign body may cause severe obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract, and may even block airflow.
Once ingested, a foreign object can become lodged anywhere along your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from your throat down into your stomach and gut. When a foreign object is swallowed, it may become stuck in the esophagus, the small, soft tube that runs from your mouth to your stomach. When you swallow something–food, drinks, or a foreign object (non-food)–anything–the food goes down your gastrointestinal tract, or intestine. Sharp objects, such as glass or metal, can damage the thin walls of your esophagus and result in bleeding or an infection in your mediastinum (the hollow space in your mid-chest, between your lungs).
Without treatment, sharp objects can injure parts of the gastrointestinal tract and cause severe bleeding. Sharp, pointy objects, which are typically radiopaque, may be traumatizing, and endoscopic removal is recommended when a foreign object can be reached by an endoscope.2,3 No specific recommendations are available for metal objects, such as tabs from soft drink cans, which have a sharp edge but are not pointed.
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The object can be ingested by accident (for example, if a carpenter holds nails between his lips, or if a seamstress does the same with buttons). You can expect the metal object that you ingest to exit the body itself 90% of the time. There should not be a problem with passing a swallowed item through your digestive system and through elimination.
If the object is lodged in your body and needs removal, the physician can take the object out through the tube that goes down the throat. Once you have found the object, the doctor may attempt to get it removed, or you might just need to be monitored carefully at the hospital or home.
A radiograph will be taken, and your doctor will decide on the most effective method for removing the foreign object. This will help your doctor confirm the object was swallowed, identify how far down your gastrointestinal tract the object traveled, and if it is caused any obstruction.
If your teen has swallowed a soft, round object about the size of a quarter, and shows no signs of illness, consult with your health care provider to determine the best course of action. It may be scary to realize that you or your child has swallowed a foreign object, but try not to panic.
Button batteries, such as those used in watches or other electronics, pose a major risk if they are swallowed. In addition to the potential for blockages, magnets present unique risks, as they can pull on one another (or other pieces of metal) and snag on GI tract walls.
If swallowed, pennies or canned tabs may cause digestive pain, bleeding, or other health problems. Swallowing a foreign object, whether it is a penny or a can tab, can be harmful to the digestive system, leading to bleeding or other problems. If you experience stomach pain after swallowing a can tab, seek medical attention immediately, as the tab might be trapped in the digestive tract.
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No nationwide data are available about how often people ingestions of soda can tabs occur, and there is no good estimate for the risks of complications from ingesting these tabs. Dr. Lane F. Donnelly, a radiology director at the Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center, has found that children, mostly teens, are swallowing tabs on the tops of soda cans. The pull tabs for the cans were introduced in 1963, first used on cans of soda by Royal Crown Cola Co. A revised version called the Stay Tab, which typically stays attached to the can, was introduced in 1975.
By that procedure, called barium swallowing, a stay tab could be contoured to appear like a blockage, an obstructive defect, in the oesophagus. While the full aluminium may be valuable, the tab is cleaner and smaller, making it easier to harvest in larger quantities than whole tins. This is likely because there is a tendency to put a separated tab into the contents of a can when drinking.
My daughter was visiting her son, who was drinking the soft drinks, and Dr. Lane F. Donnelly encouraged her son to try removing the tab. During that period, the patient remembered an episode that occurred at about the same time that symptoms began, when she chewed on, then sucked out, an exposed tab from an aluminum can of soda. Lane F. Donnelly was encouraged to investigate when the paediatric patient arrived at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital having ingested one of his pop-tops, containing slurred fizzy water and beer. After seeing the baby swallow the Pop-Top, Dr. Lane F. Donnelly decided to look into how frequently these accidental ingestions occur.
How long does it take to pass a soda tab?
According to Dr. Kettlehake, coins move 80 to 90 percent of the time without being blocked. They often disappear in less than four to five days, frequently in less than 48 hours. Keep in touch with the after-hours line and the doctor immediately if this occurs to your child.
Can something get stuck in your intestines?
When anything becomes caught in your gut, it causes an obstruction. A quick response is required for a medical emergency if the gut is fully stopped. Intestinal obstruction can cause severe stomach cramps, vomiting, difficulty passing stool or gas, and other indicators of abdominal distress.
What happens if you swallow a piece of an aluminum can?
Any foreign item, whether a penny or a can tab, that is swallowed can harm the GI tract and result in bleeding or other issues. Surgery is occasionally necessary. After studies revealed that kids were ingesting pull-tabs, manufacturers started replacing beverage cans with stay-tabs around three decades ago.