Accidental soap poisoning can occur after contact with household cleaning products that contain strong chemicals including those used on the body or for household cleaning. When swallowing or inhaling these highly toxic products, the life-threatening symptoms can occur.
If you suspect that an individual is experiencing soap poisoning, it is vital to call for emergency assistance or the local poison control center.
What are the indications of soap poisoning?
Always bear in mind that the indications of soap poisoning depend on the product the individual was exposed to, how it was ingested and degree of contact with the product.
- Vision loss or difficulty focusing (if the chemical came in contact with the eyes)
- Skin irritation, small holes or burns on the upper skin layer
- Difficulty breathing or swollen throat (if fumes from soap products were inhaled)
If the soap was ingested, there is swelling or pain in the throat and on the tongue or lips. There is also digestive distress as well as repeated vomiting as well as blood-streaked vomit.
The individual can also experience abdominal pain or blood in the stool. Depending on the product that was ingested, there might be burns in the esophagus.
Other indications of soap poisoning
If an individual is suspected of soap poisoning, he/she might have low blood pressure or the heart rate rapidly drops. In serious cases, the heart might collapse from contact with chemicals.
A blood test will reveal an alteration in the acid or pH level that can impair the vital organs. Remember that this does not always occur with household soap products, but can occur from commercial cleaning products.
What are the possible causes?
Extended exposure to soap or other household cleaning products can result to poisoning. Many are not aware of the strength of the products they are using. The windows are not opened for ventilation because they do not realize how detrimental it is to inhale the chemical fumes while cleaning.
Take note that children are at high risk for soap poisoning. Children might accidentally poison themselves if left unsupervised and inhale or ingest the soap products.
The treatment for soap poisoning varies depending on how the individual was exposed to the chemical products. In most cases, the doctor starts by checking the vital signs including the pulse rate, blood pressure, temperature and breathing.
Inform the healthcare professional right away if you know the amount or the type of exposure of the individual had to the soap products. The commonly used treatment measures for soap poisoning include the following:
- Administration of oxygen
- Pain medications
- Intravenous fluids
- Breathing tube
- Removal of the burned skin
- Irrigation of the skin or repeated cleansing of the skin
- Bronchoscopy which involves the insertion of a camera through the throat to assess for burns in the airways and lungs
- Endoscopy which involves the insertion of a camera down the throat to assess for any burns in the esophagus and stomach