Bug sprays

Definition 
Poisoning from inhalation or ingestion of a bug spray.

Poisonous Ingredient 
Pyrethrins, which are considered non-toxic, but they can displace oxygen in the lungs and therefore impair normal breathing.

Where Found    

     
  • Various bug sprays

Symptoms 

     
  • Difficulty breathing  
  • Asphyxiation  
  • Passing out  
  • Vomiting

Home Treatment

Seek emergency medical care immediately. Remove the patient to fresh air. For ingestion, dilute with milk or water unless the patient is unconscious or experiencing convulsions. Contact Poison Control for further guidance.

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 or inhaled  
  • The amount swallowed or inhaled

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
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:

     
  • For swallowed poison       o Placement of a tube down the nose and into the stomach (a nasogastric tube, or an NG tube) to wash out the stomach       o Activated charcoal administration       o Endoscopy - the placement of a camera down the throat to see the extent of burns to the esophagus and the stomach       o Give IV fluids       o Admission to the hospital       o Give an antidote       o Treat the symptoms  
  • For inhaled poisons       o A breathing tube may need to be inserted       o Oxygen       o Admission to the hospital or to the intensive care unit       o Bronchoscopy (inserting a camera down the throat into the airway to evaluate the extent of burns to the airway and lungs)  
  • For skin exposure       o Irrigation (washing of the skin), perhaps every few hours for several days       o Skin debridement (surgical removal of burned skin)       o Admission or transfer to a hospital that specializes in burn care

Expectations (prognosis) 

Severe asphyxiation can be rapidly life-threatening. For simple exposure or inhalation of small amounts, recovery should occur.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 5, 2012
by Potos A. Aagen, M.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.