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Accidentally drank Zafarin Forte. Burning in throat. Liquid stools. Stomach cramps. Damage to organs?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
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Doctor, I mistakenly swallowed about a tablespoon of Benzalkonium Chloride (Zafarin Forte), a medical disinfectant, believing it was cough syrup. The concentration is 10 percent (in 100 ml bottle). I immediately drank as much milk and water as I could hold in order to dilute the chemical. There was a buring sensation in the back of my throat (already irrated by coughing) and within 20 minutes I was producing liquid stools. That was at midnight on the 10th. At 11 am I feel reasonably fine, still stuffering from a flu I have had for three days, the liquid stools continue and the throat is raw. There were only a few stomach cramps and there are non now. Other than drinking cold water is there any other treatment I ought to be seeking. My throat is not swollen, simply red and painful. Could the disinfectant have damaged any organs or the digestive system? Am I right to assume that it would be best to avoid exposure to crowds (air travel) while my throat is still sore. Thanks in advance for your advice.
Posted Sun, 6 May 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Radhika 4 hours later
Thanks for the query.

You have provided me with good information.

You had ingested one teaspoon of Zafarin Forte which is a Disinfectant. It is good that you have ingested milk and water. Since you have ingested a small quantity, it will cause you irritation to your Esophagus and stomach.

The substance is corrosive to the eyes, the skin and the respiratory tract. Corrosive on ingestion.

Do not take water or milk if you are having symptoms (such as vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness) that make it hard to swallow. Damage will continue to occur to the esophagus and stomach for several weeks after the poison is swallowed.

You will need to take Over the counter medication like Pepto Bismol 2 tbsp twice a day before food for 1 week. Eat only bland food, avoid smoking and alcohol too.

If you have any symptoms of vomiting, convulsions you will need to go to ER. It is better to avoid crowds in case you get a viral infection which will aggravate your throat irritation.

Hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up queries.


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Follow-up: Accidentally drank Zafarin Forte. Burning in throat. Liquid stools. Stomach cramps. Damage to organs? 31 minutes later
Thank you Dr. XXXXXXX You mentioned damage will continue for several weeks to the oesophagus and intestine. What sort of damage and can anything be done to prevent this? Does this mean the poison has not been purged?
Answered by Dr. Radhika 14 hours later
Thanks for the follow up.

There will be mild irritation, burning sensation due to the corrosive effect of the disinfectant for a short while.

Since the lining of stomach and esophagues will face most of the extent of damage, that is why I had advised antacids to be taken. Most of the poison would have already dissolved and even left the body by passage of urine by now.

Drink cold milk whenever possible. This will releive of some of the effects.
Do not worry, nothing major would have happened.

Hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up queries.

Wish you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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