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Oxalic acid poisoning


Definition:

Oxalic acid is a poisonous, colorless substance. This article discusses poisoning from swallowing oxalic acid.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or a local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Poisonous Ingredient:

Oxalic acid

Where Found:

Oxalic acid may be found in some:

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Symptoms:
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 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.

Before Calling Emergency:

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed
Poison Control, or a local emergency number:

In the United States, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a local poison control center. This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. 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.

What to expect at the emergency room:

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. The patient may receive:

  • Blood tests to check for problems and degree of poisoning, including calcium level
  • Breathing support
  • Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus (food pipe) and the stomach
  • Medicines to treat symptoms
Expectations (prognosis):

How well a patient does depends on the amount of poison swallowed, how concentrated the poison is and how quickly treatment was received. The faster a patient gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Severe damage to the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, or airway may occur and quickly cause death if not treated.


Review Date: 2/1/2013
Reviewed By: Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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