Isopropyl alcohol poisoning occurs if the liver could not handle the high levels of isopropyl alcohol in the body. Take note that isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol is typically found in hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol and some cleaning products.
Remember that isopropyl alcohol triggers rapid intoxication which is why it is used by some to get drunk. Some use it to attempt suicide.
What are the indications?
The symptoms might arise right away or take a few hours to manifest. In most cases, isopropyl alcohol poisoning causes:
- Abdominal pain
- Slowed breathing
In severe cases, it can result to coma. This type of poisoning requires prompt medical care. Call for emergency assistance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department if poisoning is suspected.
How is it diagnosed?
The doctor will perform a physical exam to check the vital signs and indications of exposure to isopropyl alcohol such as skin damage.
During the assessment, the doctor will conduct an interview. Blood tests are also requested by the doctor to decide on a diagnosis such as:
- Complete blood count (CBC) to check for the signs of infection or impairment to the blood cells
- Serum electrolyte level to check for signs of dehydration
- Toxicity panel is used to determine the concentration of isopropyl alcohol in the blood
Management of isopropyl alcohol poisoning
The objective of treatment is to remove the alcohol from the body and keep the organs functioning normally. The usual treatment options include:
- Dialysis to eliminate isopropyl alcohol and acetone from the blood
- Oxygen therapy to enable the lungs to eliminate the alcohol rapidly
- Replacement of fluids if dehydration is present
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on isopropyl alcohol poisoning is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs, register for a first aid and CPR course with Toronto First Aid.