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Doctors Blog: Chlorine Poisoning

Chlorine Poisoning: Toxicity Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Chlorine poisoning is a medical emergency that occurs upon inhaling or swallowing chlorine. If a person is showing symptoms of poisoning, they should be immediately taken to the hospital or emergency room. Visit The Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine (COEM) to learn more. For more information, contact us today or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 7510 North Forest Drive North Charleston, SC 29420.

Chlorine Poisoning: Toxicity Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options in Charleston, SC
Chlorine Poisoning: Toxicity Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options in Charleston, SC

Table of Contents:

Causes of chlorine poisoning
Symptoms of chlorine poisoning
Treatment of chlorine poisoning

Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of chlorine poisoning.

Causes of chlorine poisoning

Chlorine is present in nature as a yellow-green gas. It reacts with water to form two highly toxic acids called hydrochloric acid and hypochlorous acid. Ingesting or inhaling chlorine in very large amounts can be poisonous for living organisms. Combining products that have chlorine in them with other chemicals can also lead to the emission of dangerous chlorine gases.

Even though it is highly toxic, when used in very low concentrations, chlorine has a wide variety of applications for households and industries. The antibacterial properties of chlorine are effective in killing and preventing bacterial growth. However, such widespread use of chlorine is one of the major causes of chlorine poisoning. Some of the common uses of chlorine are:

• Manufacturing of PVC or polyvinyl chloride, which is a regular variety of plastic.
• Most of the household cleaning products that contain bleach also have chlorine as one of their ingredients.
• 85% of pharmaceutical products have chlorine in it.
• Many disinfectants, water-purification tablets, and antifreeze products also contain chlorine.

Symptoms of chlorine poisoning

The severity of chlorine poisoning depends on many factors, including the type, quantity, and duration of the exposure. Some of the symptoms of chlorine poisoning are:

• Wheezing and coughing
• Difficulty in breathing
• Chest tightness
• Watery eyes and blurry vision
• Nausea and vomiting
• Abdominal pain
• Pain or burning sensation in the eyes, nose or mouth
• Blood in stools or vomit
• Abrupt variations in blood pressure
• Skin irritation
• Pulmonary edema or building up of fluid in the lungs

Usually, these symptoms develop immediately after inhalation or ingestion of chlorine. Therefore, diagnosing chlorine poisoning becomes easy.

Treatment of chlorine poisoning

Here are some tips for treating chlorine poisoning.

• If your skin is exposed to chlorine poison, wash the affected area immediately with soap and water.
• If you happen to inhale chlorine gas, immediately leave the place and move to somewhere where you can get fresh air.
• In case you experience blurred vision or burning eyes, rinse the eyes with clean water thoroughly. If you are wearing any contact lenses, remove them.
• In case you happen to ingest chlorine, avoid drinking fluids and do not attempt to remove it by vomiting forcefully.

Contact us to seek more information or treatment assistance on chlorine or other types of chemical poisoning.

Dr. Allan D Lieberman

Dr. Allan Lieberman is the founder and the medical director of the Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM) which specializes in Environmental Medicine and Toxicology. Dr. Lieberman has been practicing medicine for the last 58 years, and as a research scientist, he has published many research articles. He is a highly-respected member of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and also specializes in Pediatrics. We serve patients from Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, North Charleston SC, Ladson SC, Hanahan SC, James Island SC, John’s Island SC, Daniel Island SC, all of South Carolina, Nationally, and Internationally. Patients routinely fly into Charleston to be evaluated by COEM and to enjoy this beautiful city which is a Condé Nast and Travel and Leisure Top Domestic and International Tourist Destination.