Aftershave poisoning

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Aftershave poisoning can occur if an individual swallowed an aftershave product. It is important to note that an aftershave is available as a gel, lotion or liquid that is applied on the face after shaving.

Most of these products contain isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol. These components are considered poisonous if ingested. The other ingredients present vary based on the product and the brand.

Aftershave poisoning typically occurs among young children who accidentally drink the product. Some individuals who suffer from alcohol abuse might also drink an aftershave product once other forms of alcohol are not available to become intoxicated.

Signs and symptoms of aftershave poisoning

The usual indications of aftershave poisoning include the following:

  • Diminished level of alertness
  • Confusion
  • Muscle cramps
    Aftershave poisoning
    Aftershave poisoning typically occurs among young children who accidentally drink the product.
  • Nausea
  • Low blood sugar
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Low body temperature
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Difficulty during urination
  • Labored or slow breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty walking

If the aftershave product ingested contains isopropanol, it can cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Diminished reflexes

Remember that children who are suspected with aftershave poisoning face a high risk for developing low blood sugar. The low blood sugar among children can lead to sleepiness, weakness, nausea, confusion and irritability.

What must I do?

It is vital to seek medical help right away if the child has indications of poisoning. Call for emergency assistance or bring to the nearest emergency department. Do not attempt to make the child vomit unless instructed by a healthcare professional to do so.

If you can provide the type and amount of aftershave that the child ingested, it is truly beneficial for the emergency team. Simply bring the contain with you to the healthcare facility so that the contents can be determined and the right treatment can be started.

How is it diagnosed

When a child starts to show indications of poisoning, seek medical care as soon as possible. Early treatment can prevent any complications that can lead to permanent impairment and disability.

If the child was admitted to the healthcare facility, the doctor will perform an assessment by checking the age, weight and the symptoms. The doctor will also ask about the type of aftershave product ingested, amount taken in and when it was consumed. If the container of the product can be brought along, it can help the doctor determine the amount ingested.


In case the child has been diagnosed with aftershave poisoning, the healthcare professional will monitor the temperature, pulse rate, breathing rate and the blood pressure. The child can also be given oxygen and IV fluids.

Dialysis, activated charcoal, gastric lavage and laxatives are no longer needed in cases of poisoning if isopropyl alcohol is a component of a particular aftershave.

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