Carbolic Acid





=Carbolic Acid, Phenic Acid, or Phenol=, is largely employed as a

disinfectant, and is often supplied in ordinary beer-bottles without

labels.



Symptoms.--An intense burning pain extending from the mouth to the

stomach and intestines. Indications of collapse soon supervene. The skin

is cold and clammy, and the lips, eyelids, and ears, are livid. This is

followed by insensibility, coma, stertorous breathing, abolition of

reflex movements, hurried and shallowed respiration, and death. The

pupils are usually contracted, and the urine, if not suppressed, is dark

in colour, or even black. Patients often improve for a time, and then

die suddenly from collapse. When the poison has been absorbed through

the skin or mucous membranes, a mild form of delirium, with great

weakness and lividity, are the first signs.



Post-Mortem.--If strong acid has been swallowed, the lips and mucous

membranes are hardened, whitened, and corrugated. In the stomach the

tops of the folds are whitened and eroded, while the furrows are

intensely inflamed.



Treatment.--Soluble sulphates which form harmless sulpho-carbolates in

the blood should be administered at once. An ounce of Epsom salts or of

Glauber's salts dissolved in a pint of water will answer the purpose

admirably. After this an emetic of sulphate of zinc may be given. White

of egg and water or olive-oil may prove useful. Warmth should be applied

to the body.



Fatal Dose.--One drachm, but recovery has taken place after much

larger quantities, if well diluted or taken after a meal.



Tests are not necessary, as the smell of carbolic acid is

characteristic.



Local action of carbolic acid produces anæsthesia and necrosis.

Accidents sometimes happen from too strong lotions applied as surgical

dressings.



=Lysol= is a compound of cresol and linseed-oil soap, and is much less

toxic than carbolic acid.





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