Chinese children made critically ill by preserved melon drink

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 March, 2018, 2:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 April, 2018, 1:40pm

Three children from southern China were made critically ill after they were poisoned by a three-year-old drink made from preserved melons, according to a news website report.

The siblings from Zhongshan in Guangdong province were given the drink by their mother to improve their appetite, Kankan News reported.

The four-year-old boy and 10-month-old twin boys suffered from nitrite poisoning, according to the article. They were treated in intensive care, but are now recovering.

The children’s faces and lips turned blue a few hours after taking the drink and they had to be rushed to hospital.

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Many Chinese believe a soup made from winter melon and barley can help reduce inflammation and help the body cope with hot weather, based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine.

The children were poisoned as nitrite formed in preserved food can lead to lack of oxygen in the human body, Li Zhengran, a doctor at the paediatric intensive care unit at Zhongshan Bo’ai Hospital was quoted as saying.

“Had the oxygen starvation lasted longer, it would have led to organ failure and bleeding. It can even cause death in the worst scenario,” Li told the news website.

People should be mindful of the freshness of their food and eat less preserved vegetables or meat, especially leftover vegetables, Li was quoted as saying.