Fireside Chats with Dr. Mary #53 – By Dr. Mary Ugalahi

She was a whirlwind of activity. Sweeping, dusting , cleaning and mopping every available surface. She had not cleaned like this in awhile and it felt good. Adesuwa thought. Her mum came into the bedroom where she was set-up ready to commence cleaning.

“Adesuwa you have been at this since 9am. It is 12noon now. Don’t you think you should rest a bit? “she asked?

“Mum, I am fine. I just have this room and the bathroom then I will take a bath and rest.” Adesuwa replied with a smile. “Moreover house chores is exercise and you know, I have not burnt much calories since the schools were shutdown. I have not been to the gym in months and I am still struggling with home work out mum.”

“I agree, but still you should rest a bit from the spring cleaning “. I appreciate having you at home for this length of time, since we rarely saw you in the past four years since you gained admission into the University. I don’t want you looking skinny at resumption ”

“Yes mum, I appreciate the concerns, but I will soon be done cleaning,” Adesuwa replied.

She resumed cleaning while her mum returned to the sitting room. “Everything sparkles” she said out loud, pleased. A splash, a severe sting and Adesuwa wailed in pain. The unthinkable had happened.  The cleaning agent she was using to clean splashed into her right eye. The burning pain was quiet severe. She ran to the bathroom, turned on the tap and rinsed her eye continuously. Her mum met her that way when she ran in to investigate after hearing Adesuwa’s wail.

“What happened?” She asked concerned.

“One of the cleaning agents accidentally got into my eye” Adesuwa replied all wet.

“Should you be rinsing it with so much water?” Her mum asked.

“Yes mum, this is the right and urgent thing to do.Please help evert my eyelids”

She continued rinsing for about 20 minutes . The eye was still painful and they proceeded to the emergency room.

The ophthalmologist recognised Adesuwa as she was one of her students. She commended her for the first aid which fortunately minimised the severity of the injury. She was treated and commenced on eye drops to return for daily reviews.

“Most patients with chemical injury are usually hospitalised, but, the prompt and continuous irrigation with water you did made a difference. Your injuries are mild” the doctor said.

Adesuwa’s mum was quite proud of her daughter. She looked at her and smiled.

“You should give us a health talk on first aid soon my daughter and doctor”

“We don’t need to wait until you graduate. It seems you have learnt a lot even as a medical student.” She commented as they were driving  home.

“Sure mum, I should,” Adesuwa replied, laughing.

  • Injuries to the eye from chemicals are common at home and in the workplace
  • Chemical injuries are  emergencies and require prompt care
  • In the event of a chemical injury or splash into the eyes, liberally irrigate the eye(s) continuously with clean water
  • Do that for about 20mins and thearafter proceed immediately to the hospital
  • Do not pad the eyes
  • Do not self medicate and instill drops
  • Prompt and early treament gives the eye a chance at good recovery.
  • Remember, irrigate, irrigate and irrigate some more!






Dr. Mary Ugalahi


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