They are pretty, catch the eye, but can be very dangerous.
The National Agency for Food and Health Security (ANSES) has just launched an alert on poisoning related to ornamental plants typical of this end of the year.
Each year, poison control centers receive between 60 and 80 calls for children under 15 who have accidentally put holly berries in their mouths.
Nearly 40% of cases occur between December and January, recalls ANSES, which calls for the vigilance of adults.
To these accidents, we must also add those related to mistletoe or poinsettia, an indoor plant also called the Christmas star.
These plants are toxic and can cause more or less serious symptoms depending on the amounts consumed.
Attractive red berries
The small branches of holly, used in particular to make Christmas wreaths, represent the main risk at the end of the year.
The small red berries that adorn the base of the leaves are not edible.
What is often ignored by small children who can be tempted, if they have fallen and are within reach, to pick them up and swallow them whole like a treat.
Especially since the logs are sometimes decorated with an imitation of sugar, very edible this one.
In the vast majority of cases, if it is just one or two berries, there will be very few symptoms, mainly minor digestive upset like nausea or vomiting.
However, ingesting more can cause salivation, persistent diarrhea, even drowsiness and seizures.
Your dogs and cats are also susceptible to the toxicity of holly leaves and berries.
In the event of ingestion of a large quantity, they can present digestive or even neurological signs up to coma.
Mistletoe is also very frequently used to decorate our homes.
Its white berries are not less toxic.
On the other hand, beware of leaves and branches.
Their ingestion will cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Heart rhythm disturbances and a drop in arterial or neurological pressure may also be observed with the ingestion of a high number of berries.
These little white balls can be fatal to pets.
Ditto for poinsettias, very popular at this time for their flowers with red petals.
In your pet, chewing on its leaves or stems can cause digestive problems to varying degrees.
What to do in case of indigestion?
If your child has put leaves or berries of holly, mistletoe, or other ornamental plants in his mouth: clean his mouth with a wet cloth, do not give him a drink and call the center as soon as possible. poison control system closest to you.
You will find the number on their common website www.centres-antipoison.net.
Morning essentials newsletter
A tour of the news to start the day
Subscribe to the newsletterAll newsletters
For animals, contact a specialized poison control center.
They are listed on the site of the order of veterinary veterinarians.fr.
You can also contact your veterinarian who will tell you what to do.
Whether it is a child or an animal, keep the label or a photograph of the plant for easy identification.