Chlorine poisoning can occur if the chemical is inhaled or ingested. Chlorine is a chemical that inhibits the growth of bacteria in stationary or stagnant water. It is utilized to sanitize sewage and industrial waste. Additionally, it is also an active component in various cleaning products.
Chlorine is known to react with water including the water in the digestive tract. Once a reaction occurs, hydrochloric acid and hydrochlorous acid are formed. Take note that both are highly toxic to humans.
Common household products and substances that contain chlorine
- Swimming pool water
- Chlorine tablets utilized in swimming pools
- Bleach products
- Mild household cleaners
What are the indications of chlorine poisoning?
Chlorine poisoning can trigger various symptoms all over the body. The respiratory symptoms include fluid in the lungs and difficulty breathing. As for the digestive symptoms, it includes the following:
- Swelling of the throat
- Burning sensation in the mouth
- Throat pain
- Stomach pain
- Blood-streaked stools
Exposure to chlorine can damage the circulatory system. The symptoms of this issue might include the following:
- Low blood pressure
- Changes in the pH balance of the blood
- Skin damage that can result to tissue damage, irritation and burns
- Serious injury to the eyes including irritation and burning
How is it diagnosed
Chlorine poisoning is considered common, thus diagnosing it is not difficult. In some cases, children can consume cleaning products that might contain chlorine. Remember that it might be more difficult to diagnose since children do not oftentimes tell what they are feeling. Bring a child who shows indications of chlorine poisoning to a healthcare facility right away.
Seek medical care right away if an adult or child came in contact with chlorine. Do not attempt to induce vomiting unless instructed by a healthcare professional.
- If chlorine entered the eyes or the skin, you have to flush the area using running water for at least 15 minutes.
- In case the chemical was swallowed accidentally, the individual should be given water or milk immediately unless he/she is vomiting or having convulsions.
- If chlorine was inhaled, transfer to an area with fresh air right away. Going to the highest area possible is beneficial since chlorine is heavier than air.
If the individual was admitted to the emergency department, the doctor will check and monitor the vital signs such as the blood pressure, pulse, temperature and breathing rate. The following are given to alleviate the symptoms and eliminate the chemical:
- Activated charcoal
- Intravenous fluids
A breathing tube might be placed if the individual has difficulty breathing. A specialized tool might be used to view the throat to check for any serious burns in the airways or the lungs. In some cases, a tube might be inserted into the stomach to empty the contents.