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Emergency Tip - Poisoning By Acids

Updated on September 27, 2007

There is a group of chemicals called acids. These are all molecules containing hydrogen atoms. Acids are generally dangerous. Never drink them or put them near your eyes. Never pour water into a concentrated acid as it heats up and can spit hot acid at you. If you must dilute a concentrated acid with water, pour the acid slowly and gently into the water.

Immediately after swallowing a strong acid the victim experiences pain in the mouth, throat, and abdomen. The membranes of the lips and mouth appear white, and there is intense thirst. If the victim vomits, the vomitus appears as "coffee grounds".

WHAT TO DO:

Immediately after a victim has swallowed a corrosive poison such as strong acid or alkali, examples of these are lye, caustic soda, drain and toilet bowl cleaners, and electric dishwasher detergents in either solid or liquid form. There may or may not be visible reactions or burns on the lips and around the mouth. However, the severe damage occurs inside the mouth and in the lining of the esophagus.

Call at once for trained help (make sure that emergency numbers are visible in your house so it is easy for you to call the people who could help you in these kinds of emergencies). Dilute the caustic agent at once by giving the victim a drink of milk (or water if milk is not at hand). Remove any contaminated clothing and wash the underlying skin. Do not try to make the victim vomit. Irritations of the lining membranes may be soothed by having a patient swallow cream or egg white. Keep the victim quiet and warm. Use cracked ice to relieve thirst.

Reference :

Modern Medical Guide by Harold Shryock, M. D.

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