Palm Oil for Poison Ingestion, Antidote or Death?

Palm oil, that sweet savoury oil that adds taste to that melon soup, that flavour it gives to the native okro soup, not to mention, the role it plays in the making of beans, the ewa goin that goes with that agege bread… I can go on and on and on. But do you also know, it can be a fast way to death for kids?

From time immemorial, parents and the elders gave palm oil as antidote for everything poison that has been injested. Did it work for them? Is it some kind of myth? Is it real?

The doctors in the pediatrics emergency will disagree though as it has caused more deaths than good in the Emergency dept.

First things first, why would you keep bleach in an eva water bottle and place it on the floor?

Why would you feel the need to put sniper in an open container? When you have kids crawling around?

So a child gets burnt in fire, the next thing is rub palm oil on it. Rob it on.

A child splashes hot water on self, rob it on.

A child drinks kerosene, guess what, force feed with palm oil.

Who else remembers palm oil as an antidote to cough? You know how to do it, mix palm oil with a lot of sugar, stir and drink with the sugar, believed to help resolve it. Truth is, all the times I was given this treatment when i was a kid, I continued to cough like never before. Till morning. My conclusion right now, looking back, it simply doesn't work.

Now the myth is this, palm oil is believed to either induce vomiting so the child can be rid of the poison or secondly, that it helps to neutralise the poison ingested.

What they forget is, inducing vomiting does not work for all poisons. In fact, inducing vomiting may worsen the problem and the child can die from that.

What's worse is this, while trying to feed the child a lot of palm oil, or while the child is trying to vomit the palm oil and poison, it can pass into the longs and trust me, palm oil is very bad for the lungs, so bad a child can die within hours to days. I always say this, good for the stomach, bad for lungs.

Palm oil seals off spaces meant for respiration in the lungs, apart from causing a direct injury to the lungs and Inflammation with progression to some form of severe pneumonia, child needs oxygen to survive and what not. It's just all shades of bad, bad bad.

What should you do?

2 comments on “Palm Oil for Poison Ingestion, Antidote or Death?

  1. Mariam says:

    Great stuff Dr Nick!

    1. Nick Atte says:

      Thanks Mariam. Glad you liked it.

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