=Carbolic Acid, Phenic Acid, or Phenol=, is largely employed as a
disinfectant, and is often supplied in ordinary beer-bottles without
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
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
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
Local action of carbolic acid produces anæsthesia and necrosis.
Accidents sometimes happen from too strong lotions applied as surgical
=Lysol= is a compound of cresol and linseed-oil soap, and is much less
toxic than carbolic acid.