Houseplants not only make your home lovely and lush but they also improve the air quality around you.
However, most plant enthusiasts can tell you that the greenery in your home can quickly lead to potentially devastating effects.
In fact, many common houseplants are toxic to cat, dogs and even children.
Also known as Dumb Cane and Topic Snow, Dieffenbachia is one of the most popular plants for homes and offices because it requires little care.
The plant is especially toxic to humans and pets if it’s ingested (1). One bite paralyzes your voice, two paralyzes you, while three are supposed to be fatal. (2)
Some sources even say that ingestion can cause damage and death in under a minute for children and in under 15 minutes in adults (3).
In fact, the leaves, stalk and root contain toxic substances like oxalic acid and asparagine.
In humans contact with your eyes can cause (4):
- Damage to cornea of the eye
- Eye pain
Ingestion, on the other hand, causes:
- Burning in mouth or throat
- Hoarse voice
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swelling and blistering in the mouth or tongue
- Difficulty speaking and swallowing
- Numbness and temporary parallysis
In the case of ingestion wipe out the mouth with a cold, wet cloth and give the patient milk to drink. In the case of contact, rinse the person’s eyes and skin well if they touched the plant (it may cause a rash in people with sensitive skin).
Regardless, if you suspect any interaction with the plant, call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. In most cases, patients can be cured with prompt medical intervention.