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Hair spray poisoning

Definition

Hair spray poisoning occurs when someone breathes in (inhales) hair spray or accidentally or intentionally sprays this substance down their throat or into their eyes.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Carboxylmethylcellulose
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Hydroflurocarbon
  • Polyvinyl alcohol
  • Propylene glycol
  • Polyvinylpyrrolidone

Where Found

  • Various hair sprays

Symptoms

  • Blurred vision
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Burning pain in the throat
  • Burns to the eye
  • (if extreme amounts are inhaled)Coma
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rash
  • Stupor

Home Treatment

Seek immediate medical help.

Immediately move the person to fresh air.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • Time it was inhaled

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

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 United States 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.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to expect at the emergency room

The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:

  • Breathing support
  • Medicines to treat an allergic reaction (diphenhydramine, epinephrine, or prednisone)
  • Surgical removal of burned skin (skin debridement)
  • Washing of the skin  or eyes (irrigation)

If the poisoning is severe, you may be admitted to the hospital.

Expectations (prognosis)

Hairspray is not very toxic. Most exposures do not result in serious poisonings. How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

References

Caraccio TR, McFee RB. Cosmetics and toilet articles. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. . 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 100.

Media

    Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.