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Chemical Poisoning 

What can cause chemical poisoning?

Common sources of chemical poisoning include:

  • Household cleaners

  • Laundry detergent

  • Drain cleaners

  • Varnishes

  • Agricultural products

  • Plants

  • Industrial chemicals

Identifying the type of poison is important to treat the poisoning.

What are the symptoms of a chemical poisoning?

Different chemicals will cause different symptoms. Common symptoms can include:

  • Severe throat pain

  • Trouble breathing

  • Burns on the lips or mouth

  • Sudden behavior changes, such as unusual sleepiness, irritability, or jumpiness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Stomach cramps with no fever

  • Unusual drooling or odd odor on the breath

  • Convulsions or unconsciousness (severe cases only)

What to do in case of chemical poisoning

The first action when a person has swallowed a toxic substance is to call Poison Control at 800-222-1222. This will connect you to a local poison center.

If a person has been poisoned, do not give them ipecac. Syrup of ipecac is an emetic. This is a chemical used to cause vomiting. It is made from the dried root of a plant grown in Brazil called ipecacuanha. Although ipecac was commonly used in the past, guidelines now say that you should not use it. 

Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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