This is poisoning from swallowing or breathing in large amounts of window cleaner.
Older window cleaners may contain ammonia, ethanol, methanol, or isopropyl alcohol.
New types of window cleaners are considered safer.
Note: Most symptoms are seen with older window cleaners containing the toxic ingredients listed above.
- Lungs and airways
- Breathing difficulty (from inhalation)
- Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)
- Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
- Severe pain in the throat
- Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue
- Loss of vision
- Severe abdominal pain
- Burns of the esophagus (food pipe)
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in the stool
- Heart and blood
- Hypotension (low blood pressure) develops rapidly
- Necrosis (holes) in the skin or underlying tissues
- Nervous system
- Severe brain damage
DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by Poison Control or a health care professional. Seek immediate medical help.
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
- The amount swallowed
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 U.S. 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.
Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.
See National Poison Control center.
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:
- Fluids by IV
- Medicines to treat symptoms
- Activated charcoal
- A nasogastric (NG) 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
- Medicine (antidote) to reverse the effect of the poison
- Breathing tube
- Bronchoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the airways and lungs
- Irrigation (washing of the skin) -- perhaps every few hours for several days
- Skin debridment (surgical removal of burned skin)
How well a patient does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment was received. The faster a patient gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery. If patient survives the first 72 hours, complete recovery is very likely.
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