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How to Treat Chemical Exposure

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How to Treat Chemical Exposure

Almost every person is at risk for chemical exposure. It is estimated that its effects lead to approximately 50,000 deaths each year. Not all of those cases happen right away -some people suffer from the long-term effects before succumbing to illness.

Harmful chemicals aren’t found just in factories and the workplace. There are things in your home containing substances you do not want to be exposed to. Examples of that include:

  • Bleach.
  • Drain cleaners.
  • Antifreeze.
  • Upholstery cleaners.
  • Ammonia.
  • Air fresheners.

When purchasing cleaners and other chemicals, check the container for the instructions on how to store and safely use them.

3 Ways Chemical Exposure Happens

1. Inhalation

Chemicals in a gas form can enter the nose and irritate the lungs. The substance can get deposited in the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.

2. Ingestion

Ingestion is when a person eats or drinks a harmful chemical. They can get into food, liquids, utensils, and your hands which provide a path inside your body. Children are at the most risk of ingesting harmful substances because they are naturally curious.

3. Skin Absorption

There are chemicals that the body absorbs if they get on your skin. That is why you need to wear protective clothing when handling dangerous substances.

The Symptoms of Chemical Exposure

Chemical exposure symptoms can vary depending on the substance, the amount and how it came into contact with the person.

Small chemical exposures can cause the eyes, nose, throat or skin to become irritated with a burning sensation. It may also cause headaches, blurred vision, excessive sweating and diarrhea. In mild cases, once the exposure is stopped, the symptoms disappear.

Severe chemical exposure will have more serious effects like difficulty breathing, wheezing, weakness and more. Worst-case scenarios can cause the person to collapse, lose consciousness or even die.

chemical exposure

How to Avoid Harmful Chemical Exposure

The best way to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals is to leave the area where it is released. Do not make direct contact with it. Calmly move to an area with fresh air.

If at work, follow the safety procedures, especially when handling dangerous substances.

At home, make sure to keep harmful chemicals away from the reach of children. Label them correctly and only use them as intended. Use proper equipment in handling dangerous substances.

What to Do After Getting Exposed to Harmful Chemicals

If you or someone close to you gets exposed to harmful chemicals, it is vital to act quickly. Here’s what to do:

  • Quickly move to an area with fresh air to avoid further exposure to harmful chemical gasses.
  • If liquid chemical comes into contact with clothes, remove them immediately. Wash the affected skin with lots of water to flush away the substance.
  • If the chemical had contact with your eyes, flush your eyes in running water. It is crucial to remove it as fast as possible.

Most harmful chemicals at home or in the workplace have a label on what to do if exposed to them. Follow the instructions and call for medical assistance right away.

Get Fast Help at ProMedica Toledo Hospital

First aid is a crucial part of chemical exposure cases. What you do right after dictates the long-term effects. Keep calm and follow the correct procedures depending on how the exposure happened and what chemical is involved.

You need to get checked by a medical professional to ensure that the chemical does not leave lasting effects, especially if you suffer from severe symptoms like difficulty breathing.

Take note of the chemical involved in the exposure and how they happened. That information can help the attending healthcare personnel provide the correct treatment.

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care provides patients with quality care and services. Staff are ER-trained to determine patient conditions, and patients only pay for the level of service they receive—either ER or urgent care. The emergency department is open 24/7. The urgent care clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. You don’t need an appointment; all walk-ins are welcome.

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care is located at 1075 Medical Center Parkway, Maumee, OH 43537.

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care