Boric acid poisoning
Boric acid and preparations based on it are used in medicine and cosmetology. In the pharmacy, this powder can be bought completely freely, without any restrictions. At the same time, not all people using this drug for domestic and medical purposes are aware of some of its dangerous properties.
Let's talk about poisoning - is boric acid harmful to humans, and what disturbances can it cause in the body?
Where used boric acid and solutions based on it
This acid is chemically very weak, the solutions of which do not irritate the skin and mucous membranes. In pure form is a colorless odorless crystalline powder. To the touch it is slightly greasy, well soluble in water, glycerin and alcohol.
It is used in medicine as a weakly disinfectant and drying agent. An aqueous solution of boric acid is used in a concentration of 2–4% for washing the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth cavity, in gynecological practice, for dermatitis and eczema.
Boric acid solution in Russia has been banned for use in children, pregnant and lactating women since 1987.
Also, on the basis of boric acid, various soaps, pastes, powders, lotions are released, it is part of the solution for contact lenses.
In everyday life, the powder is used as poison for cockroaches, mixing it with egg yolk or another product that is attractive to insects.
In industry, it is used in the composition of fertilizers, in the foundry industry and in nuclear reactors, in photography - for the preparation of solutions. Boric acid is registered as a food additive E284, but in Russia it is not included in the list of approved for use.
The harm of boric acid to humans can manifest itself due to its ingestion or in large quantities on the skin. In order to cause dysfunction of the body, usually requires repeated exposure to the drug in high doses (within 3-5 days).
Fatal doses for adults are 20–40 g, for children 4–5 g (0.5 g per kg of body weight). There is a difference in individual tolerance. Infants are most sensitive to poisoning due to poorly developed mechanisms for removing toxin from the body.
What happens when boric acid poisoning
Boric acid poisoning is rare and occurs more often in children in the following situations:
- the use of boric acid by parents, unknowingly, of boric acid preparations, especially in infants;
- nursing mother's nipple treatment;
- medical personnel errors in the use of drugs;
- the child accidentally swallowed powder, poison for cockroaches based on it, ingestion of boron-containing cosmetics into the stomach.
Once inside, boric acid is well absorbed from the intestine into the blood. Also, the resorption of the drug occurs with the skin and mucous membranes. In the blood, the substance is not neutralized, but circulates in an unchanged form, is secreted by the liver with bile (about 10%) and kidneys (about 90%). From the intestine is the reverse absorption of the drug into the blood. Output rather slowly, the half-life is 24–36 hours.
The substance irritates mucous membranes, has a destructive effect on the kidneys and nerve cells of the brain.
In small children, boric acid can cause symptoms similar to inflammation of the meninges, which causes coma and death.
The consequences of boric acid poisoning are reduced to a violation of the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract. In children, there are cases of death.
Symptoms of boric acid poisoning
When boric acid poisoning occurs, the symptoms appear in the following order:
- persistent vomiting, often with blood;
- lack of appetite, lethargy;
- diarrhea, which in severe poisoning contains an admixture of blood;
- cramping abdominal pain;
- sometimes vomit and fecal masses are colored blue-green;
- characteristic reddening of the entire skin, especially on the palms, feet, buttocks;
- rash is added to redness, which can be confused with scarlet or core-like;
- 1-2 days after the appearance of redness, the skin begins to peel off;
- symptoms of damage to the nervous system develop: muscle twitches, tremors, seizures;
- renal impairment: little or no urine;
- swelling in the genital area;
- coma and death.
Kidney function is impaired due to the direct action of boric acid, as well as due to dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea.
When boric acid poisoning first aid is as follows.
- If a child has eaten a dangerous substance before your eyes, you must induce vomiting and flush the stomach with plenty of water.
- Giving activated carbon is ineffective because boric acid is poorly adsorbed.
- Take a laxative: sodium sulfate, magnesia, lactulose.
- Drink more fluid, do not dehydrate. You can apply rehydrating solutions: "Regidron", "Hydrovit".
If a small child has suffered, be sure to consult a doctor.
The difficulty of treating this type of poisoning is that symptoms are often attributed to another disease: gastroenteritis, meningitis, skin diseases, and infectious diseases in children. To confirm the diagnosis, boric acid is determined in the urine and blood.
For the treatment of poisoning, gastric lavage, exchange transfusion or hemodialysis are prescribed, forced diuresis is used, alkaline blood reserve is restored. Eliminate dehydration and normalize blood pressure.
Summing up the above, we note that poisoning with boric acid and its preparations is more common in children with inappropriate use of drugs or accidental ingestion of poison. Vomiting with blood, diarrhea, in severe cases - redness of the skin and cramps. The child may die as a result of kidney failure and coma.
To prevent poisoning, you should know how to use boric acid. As a disinfectant, it is used only in adults at a solution concentration of 2–4%. If you use the drug for household or cosmetic purposes, keep the powder out of the reach of children.