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Teens hurting selves on blowgun darts

9:50 AM, Jul 22, 2013   |    comments
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(USA TODAY) - Here's one more thing that parents of Internet-savvy, risk-taking teens should take heed of: construction of homemade blowgun darts and the risk of accidentally inhaling the projectiles.

Physicians in the August issue of Pediatrics, published online today, report that in three separate, recent cases, teen boys attempting to get a big breath to propel the darts, inhaled the metallic, needle-shaped objects, which lodged in their lower airway.

In all three cases, the boys said they found instructions for constructing the blowguns and darts online, says study co-author Kris Jatana, an otolaryngologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The homemade devices did not have any type of guard or stop to prevent the dart from going back into the mouth, Jatana says.

He and his colleagues report finding more than 20 websites that describe how to make the shooting equipment, but few include adequate safety warnings. Prompt treatment involving a bronchoscope and optical graspers enabled physicians to successfully remove the darts, but Jatana notes that life-threatening complications (including airway obstruction and bleeding) could have occurred, especially given that the patients were reluctant to divulge what caused their initial coughing and wheezing symptoms

USA TODAY

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