Aftershave poisoning

Aftershave poisoning

What is aftershave poisoning?

After having a shave, men usually apply a gel, liquid, or a lotion that is specifically produced for that purpose on their face. When they apply any of these things, they are actually applying an aftershave.

An aftershave is meant for the face. But on some occasions, you or some other person can mistakenly swallow it while using it. This is what is referred to as aftershave poisoning. It is not the aftershave per se that is poisonous, it is the substance it contains. And that substance is isopropanol. It is also called isopropyl alcohol. The content varies with the brand. But isopropyl alcohol is the substance mostly found in aftershaves.

Children can also be poisoned by an aftershave in instances where they unknowingly swallow it.

There have been other instances where alcohol addicts that suffered from alcohol abuse drink aftershave when they can’t readily get their hands on any other alcohol. This according to them is to get intoxicated. But they not only will get intoxicated, but they will also get poisoned!

What are the symptoms of aftershave poisoning?

Typical aftershave poisoning symptoms include:

  • difficulty walking
  • headache
  • decreased alertness
  • low blood pressure
  • loss of consciousness
  • muscle cramping
  • confusion
  • low blood sugar
  • difficulty in passing urine
  • slurred speech
  • diminished reflexes
  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • poor coordination
  • lowered body temperature
  • dizziness
  • racing heartbeat
  • labored breathing
  • difficulty swallowing

When children experience aftershave poisoning, they are very likely going to develop low blood sugar. Consequences of low blood sugar include weakness, confusion, sleepiness, nausea, and irritability.

What you can do if you think someone has aftershave poisoning

If anyone has signs of poisoning, get your phone and reach for medical help at once. Take such a person to the hospital. Call the emergency line – 911. If it is a child, don’t try to make him vomit except it’s an instruction from a medical practitioner.

It will be very valuable to the person (poison control specialist, doctor etc.) attending to the poisoned child, adult or even you if you can provide the following vitalinformation:

  • the aftershave type
  • the aftershave quantity drunk
  • the container of the aftershave for content assessment

Bringing the aftershave container with you to the emergency room can help the poison control specialist know how to help you or the person out treatment wise.

If your child is experiencing a seizure from aftershave poisoning, roll him onto his side and ensure his airway is free. While you are doing this, also do this –dial this line 911! If it is a serious case, get the child or the affected person to an emergency room right. And if you are the one, find your way to the hospital!


What should I do if I suspect my child has taken a poisoning substance, but I’m not certain what is responsible for it


If you suspect that there’s a poisoning case, it’s crucial to call the emergency team NPCC immediately. Provide all information you have access to regarding the poisoningestion and symptoms.

The poison control specialist will ask questions about

  • the child’s age
  • the child’s weight
  • possible quantity of poison ingested

Get the affected child to the nearest emergency ward or call 911 if he is;

  • vomiting
  • lethargic
  • non-responsive to treatment
  • has a seizure

And if you are the one, you will equally be assessed the way a child will be assessed.

How aftershave poisoning can be diagnosed

If your child starts manifesting signs of poisoning, seeking medical treatment immediately can help the situation to be quickly arrested and put complications at bay.

Your child will be admitted to the hospital and placed in an emergency ward. That is where he will be assessed.

The child’s weight, age, and symptoms will be investigated. The type of aftershave swallowed, how much was drank and when it was drunk will also be evaluated.

You must remember to take the container of the aftershave with you when you are taking the child to the hospital. It will help the doctor to be more accurate not just in his diagnosis but in his treatment options.

How aftershave poisoning can be treated

Your doctor will monitor your child’s blood pressure, breathing rate, pulse rate, and temperature. Oxygen therapy and IV fluids administration may form part of the treatment.

Laxatives, activated charcoal, gastric lavage, and dialysis are no longer in use for treating isopropyl alcohol poisoning.

What you can expect in the long-term

What to expect in the long run from the poison from an aftershave depends on:

  • the quantity swallowed
  • how early it is detected
  • how soon treatment is received

Aftershave poisoning is not a deadly condition. Stomach bleeding, coma or prolonged seizures are very rare even in themost severe of cases.

When the child returns home from treatment in the hospital, he should be allowed to rest well. He should also be fed with clear liquid diets like water, juices, or broth.

Bathroom baby-proofing tips to prevent aftershave poisoning

To help children especially toddlers from getting poisoned from aftershave, keep all shaving products and other beauty and health securely away from their reach. Baby-proof your bathroom! Do this by locking the bathroom cabinet and drawers with a lock that your baby can’t open. You can try magnetic locks or adhesive latches. This will depend on your cabinet type though. Find out your cabinet type and what works for it.

Dispose all toxic products including aftershave after their use.

When you travel with your kids, be sure to be safety conscious. Lock your bathroom kit with a Medication Zipper Hood Security Bag. When you get to your lodge or destination of travel, find out from your host where you can keep all potential toxic products. Keep them away from the reach of your children.

Calling Poison Control

You can have sufficient information about aftershave poisoning if you call or visit the National Poison Control Center (NPCC). They will be most willing to attend to you on all issues that pertain to poisoning. Here is their number -800-222-1222. They can be reached anytime and anywhere in the US. You don’t have to pay a dime to use their service. All information you disclose to them is kept confidential.


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