This poisoning is caused by an overdose of calcium hydroxide.
- Slaked lime
- Many industrial solvents and cleaners (hundreds to thousands of construction agents, flooring strippers, brick cleaners, cement thickening agents, and many others)
- 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 in the esophagus (food pipe)
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in the stool
- Heart and blood
- Hypotension (low blood pressure) develops rapidly
- Too much or too little acid in the blood (leads to organ damage)
- Necrosis (holes) in the skin or underlying tissues
DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by Poison Control or a health care professional. Seek immediate medical help.
If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.
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.
If the person breathed in the poison, immediately move him or her to fresh air.
Determine the following information:
- The patient's age, weight, and condition
- The name of the product (ingredients and strengths, 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.
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
- A nasogastric (NG) tube thru the nose into the stomach to empty the stomach (gastric lavage)
- Endoscopy -- the placement of a camera down the throat to see the extent of burns to the esophagus and the stomach
- Medicine (antidote) to reverse the effect of the poison
- Irrigation (washing of the skin), perhaps every few hours for several days
- Skin debridement (surgical removal of burned skin)
- Breathing tube
- Bronchoscopy (a camera down the throat to see burns to the airway and lungs)
How well a patient does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment was received. Swallowing this poison can have severe effects on many parts of the body. The faster a patient gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery. Survival past 48 hours usually indicates that recovery will occur. If a chemical burn occurred in the eye, permanent blindness can result.
Damage continues to occur to the esophagus and stomach for several weeks after the poison was swallowed, and death may occur as long as a month later.
Reviewed By: Janeen R. Azare, PhD, MSPH, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.