Swimming pool cleaners

Definition 

Poisoning may be caused by ingestion of mild acids in liquid form, ingestion of solid chlorine tablets, acid burns to the skin, or inhalation of chlorine dust or fumes. Chlorine is more likely to cause serious toxicity than the acids.e

Poisonous Ingredient 

     
  • chlorine  
  • various mild acids

Where Found 

     
  • various swimming pool cleaners

Symptoms  
For acid:

     
  • skin       o burn or allergic reaction  
  • respiratory       o breathing difficulty because of throat swelling  
  • gastrointestinal       o severe Abdominal pain       o vomit containing dark colored blood       o nausea, Vomiting

For chlorine:

     
  • Respiratory       o Breathing difficulty (from inhalation)       o Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)  
  • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o Severe pain in the throat       o Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue       o Loss of vision  
  • Gastrointestinal       o Severe Abdominal pain       o Vomiting       o Burns of the esophagus (food pipe)       o Vomiting blood       o Blood in the stool  
  • Heart and blood vessels       o Hypotension (Low Blood pressure) develops rapidly       o Collapse  
  • Skin       o Irritation       o Burn       o Necrosis (holes) in the skin or underlying tissues  
  • Blood       o Severe change in pH (too much or too little acid in the blood, which leads to damage in all of the body organs)

Home Treatment 
Seek emergency medical care immediately. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING! If on skin, or in eyes flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes. If swallowed drink water to dilute. For inhalation poisoning, move the patient to fresh air.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

     
  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (as well as the ingredients and strength, if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed, inhaled, or contacted  
  • the amount swallowed, inhaled, or contacted

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. Bring the poison 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) 
Chlorine in high doses can be extremely toxic. The acids may also be extremely toxic in very high doses. Extensive damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach are possible. The ultimate outcome will depend on the extent of this damage.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Janet G. Derge, 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.