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You are here : AllRefer.com > Health > Poisons & Overdoses > Sodium hypochlorite poisoning : Treatment & Emergency

Sodium hypochlorite poisoning

Alternate Names : Bleach, Clorox, Carrel-Dakin solution


Home Treatment

Seek immediate medical help. DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by Poison Control or a health care professional.

If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

If the chemical was swallowed, immediately give the person water or milk, unless instructed otherwise by a health care provider. DO NOT give water or milk if the patient is having symptoms (such as vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness) that make it hard to swallow.

If the person breathed in the poison, immediately move him or her 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

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The person will be admitted to a hospital. The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate.

Specific treatment depends on how the poisoning occured.

For swallowed poison:

  • A tube thru the nose into the stomach to empty the stomach (gastric lavage)
  • Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach
  • Fluids by IV
  • Medicine (antidote) to reverse the effect of the poison

For inhaled poison, treatment may include:

  • Breathing tube
  • Bronchoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the airways and lungs
  • Oxygen

For skin exposure, treatment may include:

  • Irrigation (washing of the skin), perhaps every few hours for several days
  • Skin debridement (surgical removal of burned skin)
  • Transfer to a hospital that specializes in burn care
Prognosis (Expectations)

Swallowing , smelling, or touching household bleach will likely not cause any significant problems. However, more severe problems can occur with industrial strength bleach, or mixing bleach with ammonia.

How well a patient does depends on how rapidly the sodium hypochlorite was diluted and neutralized. There is a good chance of recovery if proper treatment is given soon after the poison was swallowed. Without prompt treatment, extensive damage to the mouth, throat, eyes, lungs, esophagus, nose, and stomach are possible, depending on how exposure occurred.





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Review Date : 1/30/2009
Reviewed By : John E. Duldner, Jr., MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Samaritan Regional Health System, Ashland, Ohio. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.



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