Please Remove Adblock
Adverts are the main source of Revenue for DoveMed. Please remove adblock to help us create the best medical content found on the Internet.

First Aid for Washing Soda Poisoning

Last updated July 9, 2017

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Washing Soda Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of any product containing the compound.

What is Washing Soda Poisoning?

  • Washing soda (or sodium carbonate) is a chemical compound in the form of a white powder. It is also known as soda ash
  • Sodium carbonate has a variety of domestic, commercial, and industrial uses. It is used in glass manufacture, pulp and paper products, to increase the pH value in swimming pools, cooking, and chemistry labs
  • Washing Soda Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of any product containing 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)

Washing Soda Poisoning may be also referred to variously as the following:

  • Carbonic Acid Poisoning
  • Disodium Salt Poisoning
  • Sal Soda Poisoning
  • Soda Ash Poisoning
  • Sodium Carbonate Poisoning
  • Washing Soda Toxicity

What are the Causes of Washing Soda Poisoning?

  • Washing Soda Poisoning is caused by the ingestion of sodium carbonate based compounds
  • Exposure to the substance through direct contact may affect the skin and eyes
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm

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 Washing Soda Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Washing Soda Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Washing Soda Poisoning may include:

  • Drooling
  • Pain in the mouth, throat, and in the food-pipe; the pain may be severe
  • Skin irritation (on exposure to skin)
  • Hoarse voice
  • Breathing difficulties due to throat inflammation; swallowing difficulties
  • Sudden decrease in blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Shock and collapse

How is First Aid administered for Washing Soda Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Washing Soda 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
  • Carefully remove the individual from the exposure area
  • 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
  • Following an ingestion of the substance, immediately give milk 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 compound bottle/container to the ER

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

  • Medically manage symptoms, such as abnormal heart rate and seizures
  • Provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Wash skin and eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining hazardous compound
  • Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of the substance in the body
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of the substance from the body
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Washing Soda Poisoning?

First aid for Washing Soda 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 Washing Soda Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Washing Soda 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; also, the substance is not known to be very toxic
  • In case of severe symptoms including abnormal heart rates and shock, it may considerably worsen the outcome. In a few cases of severe poisoning, fatalities have been reported

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 Washing Soda Poisoning be Prevented?

Washing Soda Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Always follow 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
  • Keeping any poisonous/hazardous chemicals and other materials out of children’s reach
  • Wearing appropriate protective wear when working with such chemicals
  • 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 9, 2017
Last updated: July 9, 2017