Poisoning with hydrocyanic acid
Cyanic acid is a potent poisonous substance, the poisoning of which can lead to death. This colorless liquid, rapidly passing into a gaseous state, at high concentrations is very toxic. Therefore, in the past, some countries used it as a chemical warfare agent, and the Nazis - in concentration camps.
Let's get acquainted with the sources of poisoning with this poison, what is dangerous for prussic acid, what signs of intoxication can be, how to help the victim.
A little bit about prussic acid
This substance is a volatile liquid without color. Has the smell of bitter almonds. Cyanic acid is also called cyanide, and its salts are cyanides.
In the human body, these substances block the activity of enzymes, especially cellular cytochrome oxidase, which contributes to the development of tissue hypoxia (oxygen starvation). This is the reason for the toxic effect of hydrocyanic acid on humans. First of all, the nervous system suffers, especially the central nervous system. The poison acts on the cardiovascular system, and on the function of respiration. Characteristic changes appear in the bloodstream.
Where contains prussic acid
To prevent poisoning, you need to know where the hydrocyanic acid is. It is present:
- in the bones of some fruits and berries (cherry, plum, apricots and peaches), as well as in bitter almonds contain glycosides, the cleavage of which secures hydrocyanic acid (with some exposure);
- in tobacco smoke;
- in the means of destroying insects (insecticides) and rodents;
- it is used in production.
Poisoning with hydrocyanic acid occurs more often in the industry, where its salts are used to extract precious metals from ore, making plastics, activators of plant growth, organic glass, herbicides, aromatics and rubber. Salts are used in the pharmaceutical industry. These compounds are unstable: upon contact with air and moisture they rapidly decompose to form poison. Cyanic acid is released from the gas produced during the production of coal.
Symptoms of poisoning with prussic acid
Symptoms of poisoning with prussic acid can be observed with the use of poison inside, by inhaling its vapors and by contact with the skin. The speed of its influence and the appearance of clinical symptoms depend on the way the toxic substance penetrated the body. Severe poisoning is observed when vapors enter the respiratory system. In this case, the symptoms of poisoning with prussic acid may appear in the first minutes after contact. If the concentration of the toxic agent is very high, then the lethal outcome can be observed in a matter of minutes.
In the digestive system, cyanic acid can spend some time without showing itself. Slowest all intoxication develops when acid is ingested through the skin. This process is more active with increasing temperature in the room, with physical activity, which leads to intense sweating. The hidden period can be up to 90 minutes.
The main signs of poisoning with prussic acid are as follows.
- The pronounced pink color of mucous membranes and skin.
- From the victim comes the smell of bitter almonds.
- In the mouth there is a taste of metal, bitterness, abundant saliva, marked in the throat.
- Digestive system: nausea, frequent desires for defecation, vomiting.
- Cardiovascular system: a frequent pulse, pains of a pressing character in the chest. In a later stage, tachycardia is replaced by a rare pulse.
- Respiratory system: increased respiration and disturbance of its rhythm.
- Nervous system: dizziness, blurred speech, headaches, gait becomes shaky, numbness of mouth and posterior pharyngeal wall appears. The pupils are wide. The consciousness is broken.
Further, convulsions appear. The urine recedes involuntarily and defecation occurs. Then comes coma and death.
First aid for prussic acid damage
When affected with hydrocyanic acid, first aid includes a number of measures:
- Stop further exposure of the poison to the body: remove from the poisoned atmosphere of the victim, remove clothing on which toxic substances can settle.
- Immediately call an ambulance.
- If you get poison in the digestive system, first get rid of the contents of the stomach - cause yourself to vomit. To wash the stomach is suitable for a weak solution of potassium permanganate or with 1% hydrogen peroxide. A solution of sodium thiosulfate (5%) and sodium hydrogen carbonate (2%) can be used. Such activities are allowed to be carried out to a person who is conscious.
- You can give a laxative (salt) and activated charcoal.
- The victim has to create peace and it is necessary to ensure his stay in the warmth.
- If the person is unconscious, it must be laid on one side so that the vomit does not enter the respiratory tract.
- If there are signs of clinical death - resuscitation is carried out.
In the case of poisoning with hydrocyanic acid, the first aid can be provided by someone who was close to the victim. Arriving at the place of the doctors will conduct further treatment.
Basic medical measures
- Introduction of the antidote: inhalation of amilnitrite, the introduction of sodium nitrite, Chromosmon and sodium thiosulfate parenterally (into the vein).
- Inhalation of oxygen.
- At low blood pressure, Cordiamin, Caffeine, Epinephrine, or Ephedrine are administered.
- If breathing is impaired, it is advisable to administer stimulants of the respiratory center: Cititon or Lobelin.
- Symptomatic treatment involves the administration of solutions of glucose, vitamin B12, ascorbic acid.
- Resuscitation measures: intubation of the trachea with further artificial ventilation of the lungs.
All victims are delivered by an ambulance to the toxicology department.
After the acute acute poisoning, neurological disturbances may develop in the future. At the same time, Parkinsonism and cerebellar disorders develop.
In order not to be exposed to the action of cyanic acid and to avoid the severe consequences of its effect, it is necessary:
- strictly follow the safety requirements, if necessary, use a gas mask;
- Regularly ventilate the room after working with toxic substances (deratization, disinfestation);
- constant monitoring of the level of harmful substances on the territory of the enterprise;
- if possible, use mechanized labor when working with hazardous substances;
- to monitor the serviceability of equipment;
- personal hygiene;
- strict selection of employees for health reasons for enterprises with harmful working conditions.
Every person who is going to work in conditions of probable exposure to cyanides, it is necessary to inform what should be the first help to the victim with the damage of prussic acid. It depends on the life of the person and people who work next to him.
At home, self-use of products containing cyanide and its salts is very dangerous. In this case, you and your relatives may suffer.