February 24, 1994
Media Contact:Jo Martin
Phone: (410) 955-2476

Listed below are story ideas-from The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. To pursue any of these stories, call the contact person listed.


Because of their alkalinity, automatic dishwasher detergents are among the most dangerous products in the home, according to Carlton Lee, pharmacist at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. e substances, also called bases, can cause burns similar to those caused by acids.

"We should put dishwasher detergents in the same category as drain cleaner," Lee says. 'They are just as dangerous and should be kept out of reach."

Lee says automatic dishwashing detergents (ADDS) are highly corrosive and could cause tissue damage if they come in contact with exposed skin. Me amount of damage would depend on the concentration of the caustic agent and the duration of exposure," he says. "ADDs can cause damage from mild skin irritation to bleeding. Particularly dangerous is the concentrated residue left in the dishwasher cup after the wash cycle is completed", he says.

If a child swallows dishwasher detergent, Lee recommends removing any obvious granules or liquid from the lips or inside the mouth, followed by giving one to eight ounces of water or milk. "We do NOT recommend induced vomiting" Lee says, "can cause further bums to the esophagus by bringing up the caustic material. Parents should always call their pediatrician or regional poison center for advice."

"Eyes are especially vulnerable to caustic agents", Lee says, "because of their exposed mucous membranes. Even a small amount can act as a corrosive irritant; prolonged exposure can result in corneal ulceration and irreversible damage." "If a child gets ADDs in the eye, Lee says, the eye should be flushed with large quantities of lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes, and the child should be taken to the nearest emergency room."

"When buying liquid-type automatic dishwasher detergents, which are more corrosive than the powder variety, parents should look for products with child-proof lids," Lee says. "Unfortunately, they are not universally available." Both liquid and granular products should be kept out of children's reach.

(For media inquiries only, call Jo Martin at (410) 955-8662*)


During the winter season, most children get their share of ordinary coughs and runny noses, and fevers and get over them without complications. However, children under age 2 either born prematurely, or with pre-existing lung disease, heart disease, or other serious health problems, are at risk of developing serious lung damage from ordinary infections, particularly from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Allen Walker, M.D., director of the pediatric emergency department at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, says, "Since late October, we've seen 94 cases of RSV here alone. It becomes a serious problem when otherwise healthy children who have it infect children at risk an anti-inflammatory medication given by RSV can be treated with oxygen and ribavirin aerosol.

There is no vaccine or care, however, and Walker recommends that high-risk children avoid contact with children who have colds and flu during the winter months. He also suggests that adults who visit children with RSV wash their hands frequently. If visiting children in the hospital talk to the child's nurse first and follow hospital precautions, which may include wearing a gown, mask and gloves.

(For more information, call Debbie Bangledorf at (410) 955-4948.)


The anti-AIDS drug AZT confers much of its protective effect shortly after starting treatment with the drug, but its benefits may continue even after the onset of AIDS symptoms according to findings of a study of more than 2,000 infected men reported by researchers at The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The results appear in an article published in the February issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

"Our results agree with those of two other studies that found that early therapy with AZT delayed AIDS onset or extended life," says Alfred J. Saah, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of epidemiology and the first author of the report. But, he adds,, the results disagree with conclusions drawn from the 1993 Concorde study by English and French workers, which reported no benefit to early AZT therapy. "Our study shows that AZT works whether it's given before or after AIDS onset."

(For more information, call Marc Kusinitz at (410) 955-8665.)

-- JHMI --
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