Methyl alcohol poisoning
Acute methyl alcohol poisoning is among the most frequent and most dangerous. Compared with ethyl alcohol, the lethal concentration in the blood is only 100 ml of pure substance (for ethyl alcohol this figure is tripled), and in some cases even less.
Excessive intake of methyl alcohol in the body has a negative impact not only on the nervous and cardiovascular systems - the excretory system suffers in the first place. Therefore, it is important to act immediately and correctly provide first aid for methyl alcohol poisoning.
How to distinguish ethyl alcohol from methyl
Methyl alcohol (methanol) refers to ethanol surrogates - these are deficient substitutes for alcohol, which are often used as alcoholic beverages. This is the so-called false surrogate, which normally does not contain ethanol, but also has a narcotic effect on the drunk person.
How to distinguish ethyl alcohol from methyl? The first type of substance belongs to the food and medical, that is, it is used to treat the skin, and in some cases inside. Methanol, on the contrary, is only technical alcohol, which is added to solvents, household chemicals, that is, it is unsuitable for drinking.
It is impossible to distinguish methyl alcohol from ethyl in appearance! To taste, smell and color - they are identical. Methanol has a slightly weaker smell, but only a professional can understand this. The difference can only be determined empirically.
- If you boil two liquids and measure the temperature of boiling, then you can find that ethanol boils at a greater - 78 ° C (less than methyl - only 64 ° C).
- Under normal ignition, the color of the methanol flame is green, while that of ethanol is blue.
- The most indicative test with copper wire. To do this, it is heated on fire and immersed in the test liquid. In methanol there will be a sharp unpleasant smell. Ethanol will also emit a light aroma of ripe apples.
It is clear that such experiments are rarely carried out by those who decide to drink this substance.
How does methyl alcohol
The causes of methanol poisoning are not only the use of a prohibited substance, but also its further destructive effect in the body.
Absorbing in the stomach almost instantly, it turns into formic acid and formaldehyde, which in small concentrations act toxicly on all organ systems, destroying cells and blocking their work. Since almost 90% of the substance is excreted by the kidneys, the urinary system is instantly affected. This is dangerous and the use of even a small amount of methyl alcohol.
The work of the nervous system is disturbed, problems with the gastrointestinal tract appear, and with a large amount of the ingested substance, death quickly occurs inside.
Symptoms of methyl alcohol poisoning
Early signs of methyl alcohol poisoning include:
- nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain;
- headache and dizziness, flickering flies before the eyes, impaired consciousness;
- aggressiveness, which is replaced by stunning, excessive saliva (hypersalivation), heart palpitations, increased, then reduced pressure, shortness of breath.
These are also signs of acute methyl alcohol poisoning. Late symptoms are much harder.
- On the second or third day, if methanol was drunk in a small dose, the vision is disturbed, even to the development of blindness, pain in the legs, head appears.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Superficial alcoholic coma is characterized by the cessation of verbal contact, hiccups, urging to vomit, the skin becomes cold and moist, the appearance of floating movements of the eyeballs and voluntary urination.
- With the development of deep coma, the skin gets a marble shade, the eyelids become edematous, the pupils are dilated, pain sensitivity disappears, breathing is disturbed, convulsions and tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) appear.
- In severe cases, death can occur.
Emergency assistance in methyl alcohol poisoning
Emergency help with methyl alcohol poisoning is to correct disorders of the heart, respiratory system and kidneys. It is impossible to carry out all these medical manipulations at home, therefore, if you suspect methanol poisoning of a person, you must immediately be taken from the hospital.
At the prehospital stage, it is not recommended to give activated carbon in the first hours of the substance's action; it will not have the desired effect, since methanol is very rapidly absorbed. The situation is more prosperous if a person along with a poisonous substance consumed fatty foods. In this case, the absorption slows down.
What is recommended to wash the stomach with methyl alcohol poisoning? Before the arrival of specialized care, it is possible to wash the stomach without a tube. To do this, the victim is given 500–700 ml of warm water (and no other liquid) to drink; an isotonic saline solution is used in children. Then irritate the root of the tongue with a spoon or spatula, causing vomiting. This is the kind of help that can be provided to a person at home.
After that, upon arrival of the ambulance, it is recommended to introduce a specific protective substance. Antidotes for methyl alcohol poisoning are:
- 30% ethanol, which can be used orally or intravenously under medical supervision;
- folic acid inside;
- 4-methylpyrazole intravenously.
Methyl alcohol poisoning treatment
Further therapy takes place in the intensive care or toxicological department of the hospital. What is used for:
- saline laxative through the probe, warm the body;
- injected with B vitamins, ATP, Riboxin, Prednisolone, Vitamin E subcutaneously, nicotinic acid;
- Symptomatic substances are used: Rheopiglucin is administered intravenously, glucose, sodium bicarbonate;
- in the event of convulsions in case of methyl alcohol poisoning, Piracetam and sodium oxybutyrate with Unithiol are prescribed for treatment.
Consequences of methyl alcohol poisoning
Methyl alcohol use can have long-term effects. These include:
- Prolonged Syndrome. To do this, a person must lie in a coma immobilized for at least 4 hours. There is a destruction of muscle tissue that clogs the blood vessels of the kidneys, leading to disruption of their work.
- Another consequence of methyl alcohol poisoning is cardiovascular and respiratory failure due to coma and the effect of alcohol on the nervous system.
- Visual impairment of varying degrees.
The accidental use of methyl alcohol even in a small amount leads to a deterioration in the work of all body systems. For this, it is not necessary to drink 2–3 glasses of liquid, some require only 30 ml of the substance. Lethal dose - not more than 100 ml. You should not experiment on the body, because even the survivors often become disabled.