Chlorine is a toxic substance for the human body. Chlorine poisoning can be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
Forms of chlorine poisoning
Chlorine poisoning can occur in different ways.
· You can get chlorine poisoning by ingesting the chemical, coming into contact with it, or inhaling the fumes.
· The contact reaction is commonly known as a chlorine allergy. However, a true allergy to chlorine is extremely rare. As a rule, it is an irritation from chlorine.
· Chlorine inhibits bacterial growth in water. Therefore, pools are disinfected with it. However, the chemical is also used to clean sewage. Additionally, chlorine is contained in many cleaning and bleaching agents.
· Chlorine reacts with water, including water on mucous membranes and the digestive tract. This reaction produces hypochlorous acid and hydrochloric acid, both of which are extremely toxic to the body.
Symptoms of Chlorine Poisoning
Depending on how your body comes into contact with chlorine, different symptoms appear.
· Inhalation: Inhalation of chlorine gas causes coughing and breathing difficulties. Fluid can form in the lungs.
· Contact: In case of slight contact this causes irritation of the skin. In severe cases, tissue injury can occur due to chemical burns. If the chemical gets into the eyes, it can cause serious eye damage.
· Ingestion: Drinking a chlorinated detergent first produces burning and stinging in the mouth, then the throat swells. Abdominal pain occurs with vomiting, traces of blood may appear in the stool. Oral intake of chlorine also enters the blood. There may be a change in the pH balance.
Immediate emergency medical treatment for chlorine poisoning
If you have had contact with chlorine, you should immediately call the ambulance.
The emergency doctor knows what to do, so you should call him first.
If chlorine has been inhaled, the affected person should immediately remove himself from the chlorine source and move to fresh air.
In case of skin contact, clothing should be removed at this point and the skin should be washed with plenty of soap and water. If the eyes are affected, it should be flushed with plenty of running water for at least 15 minutes.
If you have ingested chlorine, you should not induce vomiting. Instead, drink about 300 ml of non-carbonated water to dilute the acid, but only if you don't feel nauseous.
In the hospital, the affected person receives oxygen and receives infusions. Also, certain medications and activated charcoal help the body to cope with poisoning. Circulation and respiration must be monitored.
Therefore, treatment is usually carried out in the intensive care unit, especially inhalation and ingestion of chlorine.
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