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Fatal Hypernatremia in an Infant due to Salting of the Skin

NERMIN YERCEN, MD; SUAT ÇAGLAYAN, MD; NURETTIN YÜCEL, MD; IŞIN YAPRAK, MD; GÜLSER OGÜN, MD; ADNAN ÜNVER, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(7):716-717. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160310018006.
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Sir.—The most common cause of hypernatremia in infancy is dehydration secondary to excessive gastrointestinal loss of water or hypotonic fluids.1,2 Salt poisoning due to oral intake of salt has been previously reported.3-5 Although it is rare in the literature, hypernatremia and hyperosmolality due to topical administration have also been reported.6,7 Salting of infant's skin during the early neonatal period is an old custom in Turkish communities that probably originated in Middle Asia. Herein we report a fatal case of salt poisoning due to the salting of a newborn by the mother.

Patient Report.  —A 30-day-old female newborn was admitted to Social Security Teaching Hospital, Izmir, Turkey, with generalized tonic-clonic seizure. Generalized redness on the chest and abdomen and spontaneous separation of the outer skin layer in some of these areas was observed. In the other involved regions, the skin was easily broken, with touching of fingers

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