What to know about Freon poisoning
What to know about Freon poisoning
Refrigerant poisoning can occur when a person inhales or ingests chemicals, also known as commercial Freon, from cooling equipment such as refrigerators and air conditioners.
Accidental poisoning with refrigerant is rare, but it can occur when someone works directly with refrigerant chemicals. Intoxication is more common in people who use the drug as a recreational drug.
Light exposure to freon in a well-ventilated room is usually not dangerous, even a small amount on the skin or a localized leak in the home. However, if someone notices symptoms of refrigerant poisoning, they should contact their doctor or emergency services immediately.
In this article, you will learn about the symptoms of refrigerant poisoning and how to treat and prevent them.
What is refrigerant poisoning?
Refrigerant poisoning occurs when a person inhales chemicals used in refrigerators.
Some appliances, such as refrigerators, air conditioners and freezers, contain chemicals called fluorinated hydrocarbons. People often call these chemicals Freon, which is a leading trade name.
Freon is a dangerous substance. This almost odourless and tasteless gas can cause serious symptoms if you breathe in too much at once.
Because refrigerants cut off the flow of oxygen, some people use the gas to numb themselves. This is very dangerous because inhaling refrigerants in high concentrations or large quantities can lead to death.
If anyone suspects that they have accidentally inhaled refrigerants, they should contact the emergency services immediately.
Symptoms of refrigerant poisoning vary depending on exposure. Unintentional exposure to a device operating in a well-ventilated area is unlikely to result in poisoning.
Unintentional poisonings are rare. Most cases of poisoning result from intentional exposure when someone wants to get high or inhales the gas in an enclosed space.
Symptoms of mild to moderate poisoning with refrigerant may include:
- irritation of eyes, ears, and throat
- frostbite if exposed to quickly expanding gas or liquid coolant
- chemical burn on the skin
Severe refrigerant poisoning can cause symptoms, including:
- vomiting blood
- breathing difficulties
- loss of consciousness
- bleeding or fluid buildup in the lungs
- feeling of the food pipe burning
- irregular heartbeat
- coma or sudden death
The most common cause of refrigerant poisoning is drug abuse. Refrigerants are very cheap and easily available as they are used in many household appliances.
People can get high using rags, small containers, bags or appliances soaked in chemical refrigerants.
Freon is one of the most common inhalants used by teenagers and adults to get high on steam. Inhalants usually have a short duration of action, so it’s not uncommon for people to inhale deeply several times in a row to prolong the effect. Repeated inhalation also significantly increases the risk of refrigerant poisoning.
Although less common, accidental exposure to refrigerants can lead to refrigerant poisoning. This is more likely if you work in a factory where refrigerants are used.
There is also a risk of accidental exposure when using products containing these chemicals.
The likelihood of poisoning from working appliances is low if they are installed in a well-ventilated area.
It is crucial to call the emergency number as well as Poison Control in the Malaysia and provides an emergency service that is available 24 hours a day in case of poisoning emergencies, when the person is showing indications of poisoning by refrigerant.
If it is possible, a person who is nearby is required to assist the person in moving to a ventilated area or outside to breathe fresh air while waiting for an ambulance.
In the emergency room, doctors will monitor a person’s heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.
Direct treatment will try to repair any external or internal damage caused by the poisoning.
Treatments the doctor may use include:
- medicine to address internal damage or symptoms
- oxygen via a tube for breathing
- Removal or treatment for any skin that has been burned
- Removal of liquid from stomach via a tube in the event of ingesting
- There are no medications available for treating the poisoning directly.
Furthermore, doctors do not have a specific method to identify the condition However, they may treat if they believe or are able to determine the presence of refrigerants.
The goal of preventing refrigerant poisoning is stopping or preventing abuse of drugs.
Appliances should be secured that contain refrigerants , and secure refrigerants stored away so that they cannot be accessed inadvertently.
It is equally important for parents, teens and other professionals working with children to identify the warning signs of abuse inhalation.
Signs of inhalant abuse include:
- sudden weight loss
- watery eyes
- seeming to be drunk
- slurred speech
- loss of coordination
- breath or clothing that smells of chemicals
- hidden signs of abuse, such as chemical-soaked rags or empty spray cans
- stains on a person’s face, hands, or clothing
The importance of being educated on the dangers of poisoning by refrigerant will also prevent people from inhaling toxic coolant gases in the very first instance.
A single exposure to coolant chemicals could cause the death of a person. Other problems that can occur from inhaling coolant chemicals are:
- damage to the lungs, nerves, brain, or other vital organs
- weight loss
- loss of strength or coordination
- irregular and rapid heartbeat
If a person suspects someone they know is abusing refrigerants, then you should call a profesisonal who will find out the problem & solve the issue on time
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