CareNow® - February 22, 2016
by CareNow

Chemical exposure is a scary thing, especially because many chemicals are invisible and odorless. Because you may not always know when you’ve been exposed to a harmful chemical, it’s essential you know the symptoms so you can seek medical treatment immediately. Below are a few key things you should know about chemical exposure.

How am I exposed?

Chemical exposure can occur a number of ways. Eating, drinking, breathing or touching harmful chemicals can all result in accidental exposure. Some chemicals will have a strong odor or visible vapor, making it easy to know when you’ve been exposed. However, many toxic chemicals do not, so it’s important to know the signs of exposure.

What are the symptoms?

A minor chemical exposure can result in tearing eyes and burning in the eyes, nose, throat, chest and skin. It’s also common to experience a headache, sweating, blurred vision, stomachache and diarrhea. Some people may experience increased anxiety as a result of exposure as well. With a small chemical exposure, symptoms will subside when exposure is stopped.

A large chemical exposure can lead to difficult breathing, coughing, wheezing, weakness and even a faint feeling. If left untreated, large chemical exposures can result in collapse, convulsions and even death.

How can I avoid exposure?

While some chemicals are impossible to detect, being knowledgeable of the above symptoms can help prevent further exposure. If you experience any of the signs and symptoms of chemical exposure, leave the area immediately. If you’re aware of a harmful chemical that has been released accidentally, tune into the news or radio to avoid possible exposure.

If you experience any of the symptoms of chemical exposure, it’s important to seek immediate medical assistance. If you experience major chemical exposure, such as carbon monoxide, you should go immediately to the emergency room. For a minor chemical exposure situation, a local urgent care facility may be able to treat you.

Your local CareNow has medical professionals on staff who can evaluate you. Be sure to utilize the Web Check-In® to avoid the waiting room on your visit!

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.