14ymedio, Havana, 22 March 2022 — Five children from Matanzas suffered poisoning this Monday that caused respiratory problems. The children were transferred to the Eliseo Noel Caamaño pediatric hospital in that city, and four were discharged on Tuesday afternoon, Periódico Girón published on its Facebook wall.
“There is still one girl who suffers from bronchial asthma. Her state of health is positive and without any complications, but it is necessary to keep her under observation for a little longer,” according to the director of the institution, José Hernández Hernández.
The children, from the municipality of Jovellanos, according to the local media, “entered with the diagnosis of obstruction of the respiratory tract.” The official Cubadebate site published that the minors had “ingested some strong chemical,” but without detailing the substance or the place of the incident, which caused numerous questions on social networks.
“Airway obstruction is not the same as inflammation or bronchospasm or spasm of the glottis due to inhalation or aspiration of toxic substances,” stressed Alberto Roque, who studied at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Havana. “Finally, which toxins? Who was responsible? Was it accidental or intentional?”
Calixto Rodríguez Machado commented: “The truth is that the information is crooked, crooked. Are they from the same family or from different homes? Was it at school or another institution? What substance did they take or inhale, should we assume it was chlorine?”
The Cubadebate note does not answer any of these questions and limits itself to collecting the symptoms produced by intoxication with certain chemicals, “among which chlorine is included, difficulty breathing (inhalation), inflammation of the throat, pulmonary edema, sore throat, pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips or tongue, burns in the digestive tract, abdominal pain, vomiting, burns, irritation and hypotension (low blood pressure).”
In addition, the official website recommends, as a parent, to keep “chemical products out of the reach of children” and “do not mix chlorine products with other cleaning substances, acids, vinegar, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and ammonia.”
Hours later, the hospital staff specified that “the children, between five and nine years old, were playing in the Horacio Rodríguez neighborhood when they decided to play the dangerous ’game’ of who could resist chlorine inhalation longer with a found bottle, which caused shortness of breath, as a result of which they were taken to our institution.”
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