Poisoning from an exposure to ammonia.

Poisonous Ingredient 

  • ammonia

Where Found 

  • ammonia  
  • some household cleaners  
  • some liniments  
  • some fertilizers

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • from swallowing       o body as a whole           + mouth pain (severe)           + collapse           + fever       o respiratory           + cough           + chest pain (severe)           + wheezing       o eyes, ears, nose, and throat           + throat pain (severe)       o gastrointestinal           + Abdominal pain (severe)           + Vomiting  
  • from breathing fumes       o body as a whole           + swelling of the lips       o respiratory           + cough           + tight chest       o eyes, ears, nose, and throat           + temporary Blindness       o skin           + bluish colored lips and fingernails       o gastrointestinal           + Vomiting       o heart and blood vessels           + rapid, weak pulse       o nervous system           + restlessness  
  • from skin or eye contact       o severe burns if contact is longer than a few minutes

Home Treatment 

If the ammonia is on the skin or in the eye, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes. If the ammonia was swallowed, give milk or water to dilute it. If the ammonia has been inhaled, take the person to fresh air.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed.

  • Give fluids to dilute the poison.  
  • Use gastric lavage.  
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 
Survival past 48 hours usually indicates recovery will occur. If chemical burns occurred in the eye, they frequently heal; however, permanent Blindness may result.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Gevorg A. Poghosian, Ph.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.