(Caustic soda, alkali)
Animals most affected
Accidental ingestion (dogs) of packaging
materials used to contain household cleaning products (powders, etc.), or of products
used to unblock sinks, drains and wastepipes, and in industrial detergents. Dermal
and ocular discharges may occur following contact.
These products are highly caustic and corrosive;
incidents involving them are frequently serious and fatal.
severe painful burns, inflammation and oedema of the lips, tongue, and buccal
possibly oedema of the glottis (asphyxia);
frequently profound shock with prostration and coma;
colic, intense abdominal pain with diarrhoea, frequently haemorrhagic;
following remission of the main clinical effects, secondary complications may
develop: oesophageal or pyloric stenosis (cicatricial) which is slow in onset
and generally fatal.
Following contact with the skin, mucosac
formation of deep, painful, atonic skin sores, with destruction of the dermis;
risk of erosions and ulceration (particularly of the cornea with loss of tissue
ulcerations of the buccal tissue and tongue;
gastroenteritis with desquamation of the gastric mucosa (risk of perforation
tissues in direct contact with the chemical show desquamation, ulceration and
necrosis, with inflammation, oedema and haemorrhages;
oesophageal and pyloric stenosis;
penetrating lesions of the cornea and conjunctiva;
Induction of vomiting or gastric lavage are contraindicated
wash the mouth out with water or diluted
vinegar or a 1% acetic acid solution;
neutralize with an oral adsorbent (activated
protect with gastric demulcents (e.g.
aluminium hydroxide gels), antacids;
oral administration of diluted acids
(a 5% solution of acetic or citric acid) is of debatable efficacy;
saline or glucose-saline infusions;
if gastric perforation occurs, surgical
intervention has not been proven to be effective.
Note: if a large volume of lye is ingested,
few treatments have proven to be of any benefit.
On the skin -
wash initially with large amounts of water, do not rub the skin, then rinse with
a 1% solution of diluted acetic acid;
In the eye -
wash with copious amounts of water, followed by physiological saline and analgesic
topical corticosteroids, antibiotics.