Ethylene glycol is a poisonous alcohol. Drinking even small amounts can cause significant damage to the body. This article discusses poisoning from ethylene glycol.
- Certain inks
- Fire extinguishers
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.
- Blue lips and fingernails
- Blood in urine
- Blood pressure changes
- No urine output
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Slurred speech
- Unsteady walk
Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:
- The patient's age, weight, and condition
- The name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)
- The time it was swallowed
- The amount swallowed
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the U.S. use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.
What to Expect at the Emergency Room
The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. The patient may receive:
- A nasogastric (NG) tube thru the nose into the stomach to empty the stomach (gastric lavage)
- Medicines to treat symptoms
- Medicine (antidote) to reverse the effect of the poison (ethanol or fomepizole)
Death may occur within the first 24 hours. If patient survives, there may be little or no urine output for several weeks until the kidneys recover. Any brain damage may be permanent.
Ford MD, Clinical Toxicology. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2001.
Marx J. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 6th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2006.
Reviewed By: Eric Perez, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Copyright 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc.