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Zamioculcas zamiifolia, also known as lucky feather, cardboard paper palm or zamie, has had a permanent place in domestic living rooms for several years. This is not least due to the extreme robustness of this plant. The only drawback is the toxicity of this arum plant in all parts of the plant, which affects all species, including children and pets. However, it is only slightly toxic and usually only rarely requires medical treatment.

toxins

toxins in the plant

The so-called dicarboxylic acids oxalic acid and calcium oxalate are responsible for the toxic effect of this houseplant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia). The irrigation water that often collects in pots and saucers also contains these toxins and can cause the typical symptoms, especially in pets such as dogs, cats, rodents and birds. These are very similar in children and pets, with the toxic effect usually starting immediately and only lasting for a short time.

children

Toxic to children

Smaller children are particularly affected because they are very curious, unpredictable and put almost everything in their mouths. Basically, before purchasing new houseplants, you should find out about their toxicity in order to avoid damage to your health. However, the risk of life-threatening poisoning from this plant is comparatively low.

symptoms of poisoning

When the zamie (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) comes into contact with the skin or mucous membranes, it can cause redness and swelling as well as a burning sensation. The same happens to the oral mucosa and tongue when parts of the plant are ingested by the child or put in the mouth. So-called calcium oxalate crystals penetrate the mucous membranes, which can cause the symptoms mentioned and also difficulty swallowing, problems in the gastrointestinal area with vomiting, diarrhea and cramps.

oxalic acid

The oxalic acid can also result in hypocalcaemia (lowering of the calcium level in the blood serum) which can lead to kidney damage due to the formation of crystals. Serious damage to health caused by this plant, however, is not known. All parts of the plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) have a very bitter taste, so small children spit them out immediately.

Tip: Particularly sensitive people should wear gloves when handling the Zamioculcas zamiifolia to avoid irritation of the skin.

treatment

Medical treatment rarely required

If these symptoms occur, they are in most cases only mild and usually disappear again after a short time. A doctor can of course be consulted to alleviate the symptoms in children. If the symptoms last longer, you should definitely consult a doctor.

measures

  • take first aid measures yourself in the meantime
  • in case of eye contact with the plant sap, rinse the eyes
  • if there is no improvement for a longer period of time, it is essential to consult an ophthalmologist
  • if the child has swallowed small parts of the plant, let him drink a lot
  • only drinking a lot of tea or water gives that
  • this is to dilute and flush out the poison in the body

Poison Control Center

If you want to be on the safe side, you can call the poison control center (0228-19240), especially for children. In most cases, this can already provide information on first aid measures. The consultation is usually free of charge. When calling the Poison Control Center, information is required about who poisoned themselves, when the poisoning happened and with what, what symptoms have occurred, how much of the poison has been ingested and what has already been done about it.

Tip: Milk is often given to children with symptoms of poisoning. But you should refrain from doing that, because that would have exactly the opposite effect. The fat contained in the milk would promote the absorption of the poison.

pets

Poisoning in domestic animals

As already mentioned, the Zamioculcas zamiifolia is slightly poisonous for all species. Consequently, pets are also at risk. Cats in particular like to nibble on plants, both in the garden and indoors. However, the bitter taste deters most animals and they avoid this plant. If the pet is not put off by this and eats parts of the plant, they can also experience symptoms such as swelling of the mucous membranes, salivation, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding, as well as difficulty swallowing and shortness of breath.

In the case of severe poisoning, kidney damage is also possible. A visit to the vet can usually be avoided. Pain and discomfort should also be overcome relatively quickly in animals. In order to prevent or prevent poisoning from the lucky feather, you should avoid buying poisonous indoor plants or place them in such a way that dogs, cats, rodents and birds cannot reach them, for example in a room that is taboo for pets is.

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