Mercuric chloride

Poisoning from overdose of mercuric chloride.

Poisonous Ingredient 

  • mercuric chloride

Where Found 

  • some dry cell batteries  
  • some antiseptics

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • body as a whole       o metallic taste       o decreased urine output (may stop completely)       o salivation       o mouth lesions       o shock  
  • respiratory - extreme difficulty breathing  
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o severe pain in the throat and mouth       o swelling within the throat which may be severe  
  • gastrointestinal       o Abdominal pain (severe)       o Vomiting (profuse)       o diarrhea (bloody)

Home Treatment 

Before inducing Vomiting, contact Poison Control to verify that is the correct treatment.

If instructed to induce Vomiting, proceed as follows or as otherwise instructed:

  • Give the usual dose of ipecac syrup: 15 milliliters (ml) or 1 TABLEspoonful for children and 30 ml (2 TABLEspoonsful) for an adult.  
  • Follow with 1/2 glassful or 4 ounces (oz.) of water for children or 8-12 oz. of water for adults.  
  • Repeat one more time in 1/2 hour if Vomiting has not occurred.

Before Calling Emergency 

Determine the following:

  • 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:

  • The use of gastric lavage.  
  • Induction of Vomiting.  
  • Administration of activated charcoal.  
  • Administration of a cathartic (a medication used to evacuate the bowels).  
  • Administration of an antidote.  
  • Treatment of the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 

This substance is very toxic. The ultimate outcome for the patient often depends on what happens within the first 10 to 15 minutes after swallowing it.

If the poisoning has been due to slow, long-term accumulation, any mental deterioration may be permanent.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Martin A. Harms, 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.