The metal decorations, usually 3- to 5-mm wide, are worn on either side of the tongue and are meant to look like an oral piercing. But if ingested, they can react with stomach acids and cause lethal internal damage.
A 15-year-old U.K. boy was recently rushed to the hospital with severe stomach pain two weeks after swallowing the magnetized studs and was admitted for what doctors was assumed to be appendicitis, according to the Daily Mail. Surgeons were able to remove the magnets after cutting his bowel into pieces; they estimated that he had been just hours from dying of his injuries.
Officials are warning young people and parents about the dangers of the jewelry and telling them to go to a hospital if they have accidentally swallowed them.
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