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Definition:

Hydrogen peroxide is a liquid commonly used to fight germs. Hydrogen peroxide poisoning occurs when large amounts of the liquid come in contact with the lungs or eyes.

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 the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.



Poisonous Ingredient:

Hydrogen peroxide



Where Found:
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Hair bleach
  • Some contact lens disinfectants

Note: Household hydrogen peroxide has a 3% concentration.That means it contains 97% water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. Hair bleaches usually have a concentration of greater than 6%. Some industrial strength solutions contain more than 10% hydrogen perioxide.



Symptoms:
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Breathing difficulty (if large concentrations were swallowed)
  • Body aches
  • Burns in the mouth and throat
  • Eye burns
  • Seizures (rare)
  • Temporary white color to the skin
  • Vomiting


Home Treatment:

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 is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.



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, or a local emergency number:

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 United States 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.

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 need a tube down the throat into the stomach (gastric tube) to relieve gas pressure.



Expectations (prognosis):

Most contact with household strength hydrogen peroxide is relatively harmless. Inappropriate exposure to industrial strength hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous.



References:

Medical Management Guidelines for Hydrogen Peroxide.Atlanta, Ga. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2007.




Review Date: 2/5/2009
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Stephen C Acosta, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, OR. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (5/20/2008).

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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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100