Acetone poisoning
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Acetone poisoning

Definition

Acetone is a chemical used in many household products. This article discusses poisoning from swallowing acetone-based products.

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.

Alternative Names

Dimethyl formaldehyde poisoning; Dimethyl ketone poisoning; Nail polish remover poisoning

Poisonous Ingredient

Acetone; Dimethyl formaldehyde; Dimethyl ketone

Where Found

  • Fingernail polish remover
  • Some cleaning solutions
  • Some glues, including rubber cement
  • Some lacquers

Note: This list may not be all-inclusive.

Symptoms

  • Cardiovascular system
    • Low blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal system
    • Nausea
    • Pain in belly area (abdomen)
    • Person may have a fruity odor
    • Sweet taste in mouth
    • Vomiting
  • Nervous system
  • Respiratory system
  • Urinary system
    • Increased need to urinate

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.

Before Calling Emergency

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

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.

Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

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. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The patient may receive:

  • Tube through the nose into the stomach to empty the stomach (gastric lavage)
  • Oxygen, if needed

Outlook (Prognosis)

Accidentally drinking small amounts of acetone/nail polish remover is unlikely to harm you as an adult. However even small amounts can be dangerous to your child, so it is important to keep this and all household chemicals in a safe place.

If the person survives past 48 hours, the chances for recovery are good.


Review Date: 12/16/2011
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously 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 (12/16/2011)
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. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. 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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