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Irritating chemicals, called caustics, are ingredients that can cause severe burns or injuries. Most caustics tend to be highly acidic or basic, depending on the ingredient’s pH (a scale that determines whether a substance is acidic like lemon juice or basic like baking soda.
There are different ways we can expose our bodies to caustics. There are some caustic tips to be aware of to help protect you or your family when you may be exposed to common strong caustics.
Swallowing a strong acid or base may cause injury to the lips, mouth, throat and stomach. Burns to the lips or mouth may result in swelling of the lips and white, patchy areas inside the mouth.
Sometimes the inside of the mouth may appear normal even though the throat or stomach may have been burned. Such "skipped burns" are more common with liquid products than solid products (e.g., powders) because liquids tend to have less contact time with the mouth.
If your child has ingested a caustic substance, follow the steps below and call the Poison Control Center.
Skin contact with caustics can cause mild to severe burns, depending on the strength of the product, the amount splashed on the skin and the duration of contact with the skin.
There are three types of burns you can get from caustic agents:
If a caustic substance comes into contact with your child's skin, follow the steps below and call the Poison Control Center.
Breathing in caustic products may cause irritation of the nose, throat, airways, and stomach. Severe exposures may even result in burns to the airways.
Symptoms of inhaling caustics may include:
Discomfort in the nose and/or throat
People most susceptible to medical complications are those who inhale caustic fumes in an enclosed area for a long time and those with a pre-existing airway disease, such as asthma, bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
If your child has inhaled a caustic product, follow the steps below and call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
A caustic product splashed in the eye may cause pain, redness, blurry vision, and abrasions or burns to the protective coating of the eye. Fumes from a caustic product may also irritate the eyes.
In case of a caustic eye exposure, immediately call the Poison Control Center or your child's physician, then follow the steps below.
When you call the Poison Control Center, we will ask you a series of questions. Here's what we'll need to know so we can help.
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