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First Aid for Deodorant Poisoning

Last updated July 10, 2017

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Deodorant Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of any product containing the compound. An exposure can also take place when the lotion inadvertently affects the skin or eyes.

What is Deodorant Poisoning?

  • Deodorants and antiperspirants are personal hygiene products that help reduce or prevent body odor. They are usually applied onto the underarms and are in the form of aerosol sprays or roll-on solids
  • Deodorant Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of any product containing the compound. An exposure can also take place when the lotion inadvertently affects the skin or eyes
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Deodorant Poisoning may be also referred to variously as the following:

  • Antiperspirant Poisoning
  • Deodorant Toxicity

What are the Causes of Deodorant Poisoning?

  • Deodorant Poisoning is caused by the ingestion or inhalation of deodorants. Exposure of the eye to the substance may cause injury too
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • Deodorants are a complex mix of chemicals that include certain antimicrobials, aluminum compounds involving chlorine and zirconium, alcohol (ethyl alcohol and propylene glycol), etc.

Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Deodorant Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Deodorant Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. The signs and symptoms may include:

  • Watering or redness of eyes; eye irritation and burns on contact with the substance
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning pain in the mouth and throat
  • Speaking and swallowing difficulties
  • Skin irritation and rashes
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea that may be watery or bloody
  • Cramping stomach or abdominal pain
  • Urination difficulties; absence of urine
  • Decrease in blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Lack of coordinated movements
  • Low level of alertness
  • Coma

How is First Aid administered for Deodorant Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Deodorant Poisoning:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency help number immediately, for emergency assistance
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • If skin exposure or involvement of the eye has occurred, then wash thoroughly with copious amounts of water (for at least 15 minutes)
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Otherwise, following an ingestion of the substance, immediately give milk or water to drink
  • In case of symptoms that indicate difficulty in swallowing including vomiting or decreased alertness, do not give anything by way of mouth
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the substance bottle/container to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Medically manage symptoms and provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Gastric lavage for elimination of the substance from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
  • Administer suitable medication to counter the effects of the chemical substance
  • Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of the substance in the body
  • Wash skin and eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining hazardous compound
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Deodorant Poisoning?

First aid for Deodorant Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Deodorant Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Deodorant Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • If the individual can recover from the symptoms, with appropriate medication and early support, the outcome is generally good. Since, most deodorant are only minimally-toxic, the condition is not generally dangerous

In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Deodorant Poisoning be Prevented?

Deodorant Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Always following instructions for usage of any health or cosmetic products
  • Keeping cosmetics, medications, and other healthcare products out of reach of children in child-proof containers
  • Be aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, amount and time of consumption of the substance
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 10, 2017
Last updated: July 10, 2017