Question of the Day – Friday April 5, 2019

Question – Why are children believed to be more vulnerable to chlorine gas exposures when compared with chlorine gas exposures in adults?

Answer- The cited reference notes: “Infants, toddlers, and young children do not have the motor skills to escape from the site of an incident;  The high vapor density of gases places their highest concentration close to the ground which is in the lower breathing zone of children;  Exposure may be greater due to the higher number of respirations per minute in children; The smaller airway diameter, anatomic subglottic narrowing, omega shaped epiglottic structure, relatively large tongue size, less rigid ribs and trachea make them more vulnerable to pulmonary agent induced pathology, i.e. stridor, bronchospasm, copious secretions; Their skin is thinner and has more moisture content, therefore being more vulnerable to the inflammatory effects of corrosive agents as well as increased toxin absorption; Having less fluid reserve increases the child’s risk of rapid dehydration or shock after vomiting and diarrhea; Children exposed to chlorine are likely to experience increased severity of the same clinical effects seen in exposed adults.” (https://chemm.nlm.nih.gov/chlorine_prehospital_mmg.htm#top; accessed March 2019)