• Holiday myths

    It’s a really slow day, so I thought I’d give you something festive to read. A couple years ago, I co-authored a paper in the BMJ on “Festive Medical Myths“. Here’s a sample:

    Poinsettia toxicity

    With flowers and leaves of red, green, and white, poinsettias are widely used in holiday decorations. Even though public health officials have reported that poinsettias are safe, many continue to believe this is a poisonous plant.

    In an analysis of 849 575 plant exposures reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, none of the 22 793 cases involving poinsettia resulted in considerable poisoning. No one died from exposure to or ingestion of poinsettia, and most (96%) did not even require medical treatment. In 92 of the cases, children ingested substantial quantities of poinsettias, but none needed medical treatment, and toxicologists concluded that poinsettia exposures and ingestions can be treated without referral to a healthcare facility. Another study, looking at poinsettia ingestion by rats, could not find a toxic amount of poinsettia, even at amounts that would be the equivalent of 500-600 poinsettia leaves or nearly a kilogram of sap.

    We also cover five other seasonal/holiday myths. Go enjoy.

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