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First Aid for Sachet Poisoning

Last updated March 1, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Sachet Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (consumption) of substances in the sachet.

What is Sachet Poisoning?

  • Commonly, sachets are porous material bags (made of cloth, fabric, or paper) that may contain any of the following (scented) items:
    • Dried, naturally-fragrant plant parts and flowers (aromatic herbs), called potpourri
    • Spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, aniseed, and nutmeg
    • Herbs to repel insects, moths, and worms
    • Fancy material including beads, ribbons, buttons, etc.
  • The scented sachets are generally used for decorative purpose, for room freshness, as moth-repellents, etc.
  • Sachet Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (consumption) of substances in the sachet
  • 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)

Sachet Poisoning may be also referred to as the following:

  • Potpourri Poisoning
  • Sachet Toxicity

What are the Causes of Sachet Poisoning?

  • Sachet Poisoning is caused by the ingestion of contents of the sachet
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • Even though the contents of the sachet are generally non-poisonous, it is not meant for human consumption

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 Sachet Poisoning?

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

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Throat irritation and pain
  • If eye contact occurs, it can result in eye irritation and pain; temporary blurred vision
  • Stomach pain, in some cases
  • If large quantiles are consumed, then it may result in intestinal obstruction and breathing difficulties
  • In case of an allergic reaction, then respiratory symptoms (shortness of breath, wheezing) and swollen tongue and throat may be observed

How is First Aid administered for Sachet Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Sachet 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 exposure of the eye has occurred, then wash thoroughly with copious amounts of water
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the compound bottle/container to the ER

In case of any emergencies, the emergency medical health professional may take the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Monitor vital signs
  • Medically manage symptoms
  • Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of the substance in the body
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of the substance from the body
  • Provide breathing support and administer suitable antihistamines, particularly in case of an allergic reaction
  • Wash eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining compound
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line, if necessary

Who should administer First Aid for Sachet Poisoning?

First aid for Sachet 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 Sachet Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Sachet 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, the content of such sachets are generally non-toxic, the condition is not very dangerous, in most of the cases

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 Sachet Poisoning be Prevented?

Sachet 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
  • Being 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 31, 2017
Last updated: March 1, 2018