The 5 most disgusting things I saw in the ER in 2013

1)      Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Poop
Looks like bloody poop, doesn’t it?  Actually, this is what happens when you eat an entire bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.  These spicy treats burn going down and they burn coming out.  Ouch.  Eat enough Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and you can get abdominal pain, too.  Why do people eat the whole bag?  Here’s my medical explanation for why you just can’t stop eating them.

flamin-poop

 

 

 

2)      Pinworms
See that little white thing—he moves.  It’s a pinworm, eating poop.  (I am not including a recent photo of a pinworm case I saw in the ER in the body of this post because of its graphic nature, but if you’d like to see what a pinworm looks like, click here.)  You’ve probably had them some time in your life.  11.4% of people in the United States have pin worms at any given time, according to the CDC, and they are more common in children.  Pinworms, also called thread worms, seat worms, or (medically) Enterobius, cause anal itch, often worse at night.  About half of people with pinworms have no symptoms and just pass these little critters around.  Sometimes toddlers wake up screaming in the night and can’t quite verbalize what’s wrong.  When they come into the ER scratching their bottom, a close exam of their anus often reveals these little squirming white worms… They can infest the vagina, too.  Pinworms are spread in a “fecal-oral” route, meaning that you have to ingest their eggs, which are found in poop.  Once again, hand washing is your best form of defense.   Here’s the good news: pinworms are easily treated with over-the-counter medications such as Pin-X or Reece’s Pinworm Medicine.

3)      Juice box disaster
juicebox2
A patient came to my ER after noticing green slime coming up the straw from her Juicy Juice box.  Her mom cut open the box – and brought her straight to the doctor.  This is the photo of what we found in the unexpired juice box.  Her juice box was full of mold—green slime that lined the edges of the box.   Apparently moldy juice boxes and juice pouches (such as those made by Capri Sun) are nothing new.  If even a tiny bit of air gets into the container molds can grow.  Air can get into a juice box through a hole that’s so small you can’t see it, and it doesn’t cause leaking.  Such a tiny puncture also permits the sugars in the juice to ferment, turning the product into a form of alcohol.  Juicy Juice and many other kid’s juice products are made without preservatives, permitting mold to grow even more easily.

juiceboxThe good news for my patient is that moldy, fermented juice is usually not very dangerous to drink.  An upset stomach and a totally grossed out mom are the most common complications.

But I recommended she cut out the juice, anyway.  Why?  Because juice is so full of sugar and calories that some have called it a gateway drug.  Sugar ingestion can actually cause release of natural opiates (really).  Opiate release stimulates the desire for other sweets and junk food.  High salt and high fat foods can also trigger release of pleasure-inducing opiates.  This is why so many people binge on ice cream, potato chips, and other favorite junk foods like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.  Here’s more about why juice is a “sometimes” food.

dog-attack-bns4)      Dog bites to babies
Holidays are big days for dog bites in the ER.  There is nothing that will ruin your family gathering like your in-law’s dog ripping apart your baby’s face.  Dogs can feel threatened by toddlers who visit their homes for family gatherings.  There are lots of great reasons to have a dog in a home full of kids, including a reduced risk of asthma and allergies, but all dogs can bite, and I see the worst of it in the ER.  Please don’t ever let babies and dogs play on the floor together.

5)      MRSA abscessesMRSA_skin_Moran5

These pus-filled smelly abscesses start out looking like an infected spider or mosquito bite, but can double in size in 24 hours.  They are often caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria called methicillin-resistant Staph aureus, which is now very common in our community.  If you let them go a day or two, they may become so large that they have to be drained.  We open them with a scalpel and the yellow pus just pours out.   They are very common on the buttocks, although they can occur just about anywhere in the body.

On behalf of the mom-pediatricians here at ChildrensMomDocs.org, I wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2014.

Kathleen Berchelmann, M.D. About Kathleen Berchelmann, M.D.

Kathleen M. Berchelmann, M.D., is a pediatrician at St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, director of the St. Louis Children's Hospital Social Media Team, and co-founder of the ChildrensMD hospital physician blog. Her work has been featured in print and online publications including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Chicago Tribune, and TIME magazine. She is a frequent contributor to Fox2 News STL Moms. Kathleen and her husband are raising five children.

Follow Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann on Facebook: ChildrensMomDocs Twitter: @MomDocKathleen and connect with her on .

Comments

  1. Harriet Yoder says:

    Thanks for sharing, I think. Pretty icky, but parents need to know.

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