Sodium hypochlorite

Alternative names 
Bleach; Clorox; Carrel-Dakin solution

Poisoning from an overdose of sodium hypochlorite.

Poisonous Ingredient
Sodium hypochlorite

Where Found

  • Chemical used to add chlorine to swimming pools  
  • Some bleaching solutions  
  • Disinfectants  
  • Water purifiers

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • Body as a whole       o Pain in the mouth       o Possible burns on esophagus  
  • Respiratory       o Coughing (from the fumes)       o Possible aspiration into lungs  
  • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o Pain in the throat       o Burning, red eyes       o Gagging sensation  
  • Skin       o Irritation of the exposed area       o Burns       o Blistering  
  • Gastrointestinal       o Stomach or abdominal pain       o Vomiting  
  • Heart and blood vessels       o Low blood pressure       o Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)       o Chest pain       o Shock  
  • Nervous system       o Delirium       o Coma

Home Treatment

If the chemical is on the skin or eyes, wash with lots of water.

If the chemical was swallowed, give milk or water for dilution.

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. 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 milk or water.  
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)
There is a good chance of recovery if proper treatment is given soon after the poison was swallowed.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Armen E. Martirosyan, 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.