Bleach is a potent antibacterial cleanser and disinfectant that is frequently used in homes.
Sodium hypochlorite, a caustic chemical created by combining sodium hydroxide with chlorine, is the primary component of bleach. Most viruses, bacteria, mold, and mildew are killed by sodium hypochlorite.
The skin, eyes, nose, and mouth might become severely irritated or burned when exposed. It may result in bleach burns, a serious chemical burn type marked by excruciating red welts.
This article will go over risk factors, typical remedies, and what to do if bleach gets on your skin.
When exposed at high levels, bleach’s two basic characteristics can do the body irreparable harm.
- First, it has a high alkaline pH (between 11 and 13), which can cause skin burns and metal corrosion.
- Second, it emits fumes and a strong chlorine odour that can damage the lungs when inhaled.
Bleach exposure can be possible through
- Contact with the skin or eyes: Bleach spills onto the skin or eyes can result in severe rashes, burns, and even eye damage.
- Chlorine gas can irritate the nose or throat, especially in people with asthma. It is a yellow-green gas at room temperature. Higher exposures may irritate the mucous membranes in the lungs and raise the risk of pulmonary edema, which is a serious illness.
- Accidental ingestion: accidental bleach consumption is prevalent in kids, but it can also happen to adults. In particular, if it has been poured into an unlabeled container, bleach’s transparent tint can be mistaken for water. Sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and/or trouble swallowing are the most typical signs of this unintentional poisoning. Bleach ingestion necessitates emergency medical intervention.
Steps to Take
The effects of bleach on your skin will vary depending on the area of your body it contacts, its concentration, how long it is exposed, and how much.
eyes with bleach.
If bleach gets into your eyes, it could harm your vision. This is because bleach and the eye’s aqueous humour, a clear fluid that contains a small amount of protein, combine to generate an acid.
If you accidentally get bleach in your eyes, immediately rinse them out for 10 to 15 minutes with plain water. If you wear contact lenses, remove them before you rinse (you will need to discard them; do not put them back in your eyes). Avoid rubbing your eyes or rinsing them with anything other than water or saline solution.
After rinsing, seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor will examine your eyes for any irreversible nerve and tissue damage and look for any bleach residues.
Skin Contact with Bleach
Remove any clothes that have been splattered with bleach, then quickly wash any exposed flesh for at least 10 minutes with plain water (15 or 20 minutes is even better). You can use mild soap and water to gently wash the area after rinsing.
After that, get medical help. You are more likely to experience a bleach burn if bleach has come into contact with skin that is more than three inches in diameter. For assistance, contact Poison Control at 800-222-1222.
Although the skin doesn’t generally absorb chlorine, a small quantity may do so and enter the blood. A dangerous illness known as hyperchloremia can result from having too much chlorine in your blood.
When to Consult a Medical Professional
If bleach gets on your skin, go to the doctor. Keep an eye on any symptoms, especially if they last longer than three hours, such as pain or itching.
A medical emergency exists if bleach gets in your eye. Find a way to get to the emergency room.
If you start to show signs of shock, like less blood getting to your tissues and organs, you need to go to the emergency room right away.
Shock symptoms include
- diarrhoea or nausea
- a feeling of faintness, perplexity, or dizziness
- light skin
- quickly breathing
- fast heartbeat
- bigger pupils
Are baths with bleach safe?
For people with atopic dermatitis (eczema), diluted bleach baths are frequently used to destroy microorganisms, relieve inflammation, and hydrate the skin. A bleach bath is safe and effective for both children and adults if it is appropriately diluted with water.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) advises mixing 1/4 to 1/2 cup of 5 per cent household bleach with a bathtub’s worth of water for the greatest results (40 gallons). To prevent the bleach from going into your eyes, take care not to dunk your head under water.
How to Safely Use Bleach
Most of the time, diluting bleach with water (1 to 10 parts; for example, 1 cup bleach mixed with 10 cups water) will be sufficient to lessen the danger of skin irritation while being used for cleaning. Check the instructions on the bleach container. If there are no instructions, using 1/3 cup of bleach in a gallon of water or 4 tablespoons in a quart of water should be safe.
Never combine bleach with other products, especially ammonia-based cleansers. It is possible to make poisonous fumes that are very irritating to the eyes and lungs or even hurt them, like chloramine.
Working in a well-ventilated place is a must (open windows or doors). To protect your hands and eyes from touch and splashes, put on rubber gloves and goggles. After using bleach, wash your hands.
Never put bleach in a container without a label. It’s ideal to keep it in the original container, but if you must transfer it, make sure it is marked as bleach on the new container.
Bleach is a strong cleaning and disinfecting chemical. Even while the common one is mostly non-toxic, it can cause serious irritation or burns to the skin, eyes, nose, and mouth. Also, it can cause serious chemical burns, which are painful red welts.
The effects of bleach on your skin will vary depending on the area of your body it contacts, its concentration, how long it is exposed, and how much. Rinse the area with running water for at least 10 minutes after any bleach exposure.
After rinsing, get medical help. For advice, call Poison Control.