Hydrocyanic acid is a highly toxic substance, poisoning which can be fatal. This colorless liquid, quickly turning into a gaseous state, at high concentrations is very toxic. Therefore, in the past, some countries used it as a chemical agent, and the Nazis in concentration camps.
Let's take a closer look at the sources of poisoning with this poison than the hydrocyanic acid is dangerous, what signs of intoxication can be, how to help the victim.
Little about prussic acid
This substance is a volatile liquid without color. It has the smell of bitter almond. Hydrocyanic acid is also called hydrogen cyanide, and its salts are called cyanide.
In humans, these substances block the activity of enzymes, especially cellular cytochrome oxidase, which contributes to the development of tissue hypoxia (oxygen starvation). This is due to toxic effects of hydrocyanic acid on humans. First of all, the nervous system suffers, especially the central one. The poison acts on the cardiovascular system, and on respiratory function. Characteristic changes appear in the bloodstream.
Where does prussic acid
To prevent poisoning, you need to know where prussic acid is found. She is present:
- in the bones of some fruits and berries (cherries, plums, apricots and peaches), as well as in bitter almonds contain glycosides, the splitting of which produces hydrocyanic acid (with some effects);
- in tobacco smoke;
- in means of extermination of insects (insecticides) and rodents;
- It is used in production.
Hydrogen (hydrocyanic acid) acid poisoning occurs more often in production, where its salts are used to extract precious metals from ore, to manufacture plastics, plant growth activators, organic glass, herbicides, aromatic substances and rubber. Salts are used in the pharmaceutical industry. These compounds are unstable: upon contact with air and moisture quickly decompose with the formation of poison. The hydrocyanic acid is released with the gas generated during the production of coal.
Symptoms of hydrocyanic acid poisoning
Symptoms of poisoning with hydrocyanic acid can be observed by ingestion of poison inside, inhalation of its vapors and in contact with the skin. From the way in which the poisonous substance has penetrated into the body, the speed of its exposure and the appearance of clinical symptoms depend. Severe poisoning is observed when vapors enter the respiratory system. In this case, symptoms of hydrocyanic acid poisoning may appear in the first minutes after contact. If the concentration of a poisonous substance is very high, then death can be observed in a matter of minutes.
In the digestive system, hydrocyanic acid can spend some time without manifesting itself. The slowest of all intoxication develops with the ingress of acid through the skin. This process proceeds more actively when the temperature in the room rises, with physical activity, which leads to intense perspiration. In this case, the hidden period can be up to 90 minutes.
The main symptoms of hydrocyanic acid poisoning are as follows.
- Pronounced pink color of the mucous membranes and skin.
- From the victim emanates the smell of bitter almonds.
- In the mouth there is a taste of metal, bitterness, saliva abundantly secreted, sore throat.
- The digestive system: nausea, frequent urge to stool, vomiting.
- Cardiovascular system: frequent pulse, pain of oppressive character in the chest. In a later stage, tachycardia is replaced by a rare pulse.
- Respiratory system: increased respiration and a violation of its rhythm.
- Nervous system: dizziness, blurred speech, headaches, gait becomes shaky, numbness of the oral cavity and the posterior pharyngeal wall appears. Pupils wide. Consciousness is disturbed.
Further, convulsions appear. Urine involuntarily leaves and defecation occurs. Then comes coma and death.
First aid for the defeat of prussic acid
When affected by hydrocyanic acid, first aid includes a number of activities:
- To stop further exposure of the poisonous substance to the body: remove the victim from the poisoned atmosphere, remove clothes on which toxic substances can settle.
- Call an ambulance immediately.
- When poison is introduced into the digestive system, the first step is to get rid of the contents of the stomach - to induce vomiting. For washing the stomach, a weak solution of potassium permanganate or with 1% hydrogen peroxide is suitable. You can apply a solution of sodium thiosulfate (5%) and sodium bicarbonate (2%). Such activities are allowed to hold a person who is conscious.
- You can give a laxative (salt) and activated carbon.
- The victim to create peace and it is necessary to ensure his stay in heat.
- If a person is unconscious, it must be laid on its side so that the vomit does not get into the respiratory tract.
- If there are signs of clinical death, resuscitation is carried out.
In case of poisoning with hydrocyanic acid, first aid may be provided by someone who is close to the victim. Arriving at the place of doctors will conduct further treatment.
The main therapeutic measures
- Antidote administration: inhalation of amilnitrite, administration of sodium nitrite, chromosmon and sodium thiosulfate parenterally (into a vein).
- Oxygen inhalation.
- With low blood pressure, Cordiamine, Caffeine, Adrenaline or Ephedrine is injected.
- In case of respiratory failure, it is advisable to introduce stimulants of the respiratory center: Cititon or Lobelin.
- Symptomatic treatment includes the introduction of solutions of glucose, vitamin B12, ascorbic acid.
- Resuscitation: tracheal intubation with further artificial ventilation of the lungs.
All victims are transported by ambulance to the toxicology department.
After suffering acute poisoning, neurological disorders can progress further. At the same time parkinsonism and cerebellar disorders develop.
In order not to be exposed to hydrocyanic acid and to avoid the serious consequences of its exposure, it is necessary:
- Strictly follow the safety requirements, if necessary, use a gas mask;
- regularly ventilate the room after working with toxic substances (disinfestation, disinsection);
- constant monitoring of the level of harmful substances in the enterprise;
- whenever possible use mechanized labor when working with hazardous substances;
- monitor the equipment;
- personal hygiene;
- strict selection of employees for health reasons in enterprises with hazardous working conditions.
Every person who is going to work under the conditions of probable exposure to cyanides should be informed about what should be the first aid to the victim with hydrocyanic acid. On this depends the life of the person himself and the people who work alongside him.
At home, the independent use of products containing hydrocyanic acid and its salts is very dangerous. In this case, you and your loved ones may suffer.