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    Elephant ear

    Elephant ear plants are indoor or outdoor plants with very large, arrow-shaped leaves. Poisoning may occur if you eat parts of this plant.

    This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

    Poisonous Ingredient

    • Oxalic acid
    • Asparagine, a protein found in this plant

    Note: Leaves and stems are the most dangerous when eaten in large amounts.

    Where Found

    Elephant ear grows naturally in tropical and subtropical areas, but is easily found in northern climates as well.

    Symptoms

    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea
    • Redness, pain, and burning of the eyes
    • Severe burning in the mouth and throat
    • Swelling of the tongue, mouth, and eyes
    • Vomiting

    Home Care

    Wipe out the mouth with a cold, wet cloth. Wash off any plant sap on the skin and in the eyes.

    Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.

    Before Calling Emergency

    Determine the following information:

    • Patient's age, weight, and condition
    • Part of plant swallowed
    • Time swallowed
    • Amount swallowed

    Poison Control

    The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

    This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Take the plant with you to the hospital, if possible.

    See: Poison control center - emergency number

    What to Expect at the Emergency Room

    The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    In rare cases, oxalate plants may cause swelling severe enough to block the airways.

    References

    Graeme K. Toxic plant ingestions. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 58.

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                Tests for Elephant ear

                  Review Date: 1/15/2012

                  Reviewed By: Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

                  The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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                  St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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