What is Soap Poisoning?
- Soaps are perfumed personal hygiene products that are used for body care - washing and cleaning
- Soap Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the compound
- 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)
Soap Poisoning may be also referred to as Soap Toxicity.
What are the Causes of Soap Poisoning?
- Soap Poisoning is caused by the ingestion of soap used for washing and cleaning purposes. The soap may also get into one’s eyes and cause irritation and pain
- This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
- Soaps may be in the form of bars, gels, or lotions that are made from a variety of chemicals that include surfactants, perfumes, oils, and coloring agents. These are generally non-toxic
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 Soap Poisoning?
The signs and symptoms of Soap Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. The signs and symptoms may include:
- Burning sensation in the mouth and throat
- If soap gets in the eye, then eye irritation and pain; temporary blurred vision
- Stomach pain, in some cases
- Temporary breathing difficulties due to soap in the nose and throat
How is First Aid administered for Soap Poisoning?
First Aid tips for Soap 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
- Following an ingestion of the substance, immediately give water or milk to drink, unless advised otherwise
- 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 compound bottle/container to the ER
Generally, Soap Poisoning is a non-serious condition. With appropriate and adequate home care, the individual may recover completely, without any severe symptoms being noted.
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
- 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 Soap Poisoning?
First aid for Soap 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 Soap Poisoning?
- The prognosis of Soap 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, soaps 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 Soap Poisoning be Prevented?
Soap 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