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    Oxalic acid poisoning

    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:

    • Anti-rust products
    • Bleaches
    • Metal cleaners
    • Rhubarb leaves

    Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

    Symptoms

    • Abdominal pain
    • Burns and blisters where the acid contacted the skin
    • Collapse
    • Convulsions
    • Kidney problems
    • Low blood pressure
    • Mouth pain
    • Shock
    • Throat pain
    • Tremors
    • Vomiting
    • Weak pulse

    Home Care

    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

    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

    Outlook (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.

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          A Closer Look

            Self Care

              Tests for Oxalic acid poisoning

                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 medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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                St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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