Poisoning by cleaning products: see the most common symptoms and what to do

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Poisoning by cleaning products: see the most common symptoms and what to do

Children, the elderly and domestic animals are the main victims of the incidents.

In 2021, cleaning products were responsible for 6,771 cases of poisoning in Brazil, behind only medicines, with 74,123 occurrences, according to data from the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa). These situations have become even more frequent due to the hygiene habits acquired with the COVID-19 pandemic. Intoxication occurs with the contact, accidental or not, of toxic substances harmful to the body.

“The cleaning products that cause the most intoxication are those based on acids and alkalis, such as bleach, caustic soda-based plungers, all heavy-duty cleaning disinfectants, which contain active chlorine, and wax removers, in addition to insecticides”, informs Ana Paula Mendonça, occupational physician at Hospital São Vicente de Paulo (RJ).

Children, the elderly and domestic animals are, in most cases, the main victims of these accidents, which usually occur due to improper storage of products. Knowing how to avoid this type of occurrence or knowing how to act in these cases is an essential factor when it comes to saving lives.

What are the forms of intoxication?

The most common form of intoxication is by the oral route, with the ingestion of the components. But anyone who thinks that this is the only way to get intoxicated with chemical products is wrong. Inhalation is also one of those responsible for part of the episodes.

“Some, when used, release a gas, a kind of mist, which can cause an allergic reaction, as well as chlorine-based products, when used in large quantities indoors”, explains the doctor. Reactions to chemical products can still be manifested through the skin, when they come into contact with the skin.

When to suspect intoxication?

Victims of intoxication may have adverse manifestations, depending on the substance and the form of contact with the chemical agent. Among the most common symptoms are:

  • Nausea;

  • Vomiting;

  • Excessive salivation;

  • Abdominal pain;
  • Burning in the mouth, throat and stomach;

  • Eye irritation;

  • Skin injuries such as burns and blisters.

What about domestic animals?

Just like humans, pets can also become intoxicated with chemical agents. Episodes occur due to easy access to the products or accidentally, when cleaning or licking a container with the chemical. Animals with intoxication usually present:

  • Apathy;

  • Vomiting;

  • Mouth and skin lesions;

  • Hyperventilation;

  • Tearing eyes;

  • Diarrhea;

  • Abdominal pain.

Know more: 5 cleaning products that should never be mixed

First aid

For first aid to a poisoning victim, Ana Paula recommends washing the area that had contact with the product under running water. “In case of ingestion, you should wash your mouth and drink water and, depending on the product, the amount ingested and the symptoms, the advice is to seek emergency care immediately”, she informs.

Knowing which agent the victim had contact with, even taking the package, label or package leaflet of the product will help health professionals when conducting the treatment. In emergency cases or for further information, contact SAMU (192) or the Intoxication Dial, from the Toxicological Assistance Center (0800 722-6001).

How to avoid poisoning by cleaning products?

  • Store cleaning products high up or in locked cupboards.without the access of children and domestic animals;
  • Do not mix different cleaning products. “If an acid-based product and an alkali-based product mix, the chemical reaction they produce can give rise to a third product, which can also cause intoxication”, says the doctor;
  • Use the indicated amount of the product and stay in a place with ventilation during handling;
  • Do not reuse packaging for use by people or animals. “Eventually, a residue of the product may remain in this packaging. When putting a new product in the package, there will be a chemical reaction, generating a third product that can cause intoxication or allergy in those who use the product”, he concludes.

Content for educational purposes only. Consult a Doctor.

The translator user relied on the following source:

Minha Vida Website – REF99827

Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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