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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes metallic taste in mouth after exposure to bleach?

Answered by
Dr. Abubakar Siddiqh

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :1994

Answered : 2038 Questions

Posted on Sat, 7 Nov 2015 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: I recently picked up a LOT of seashells from the gulf of mexico. Yesterday I opened the box I brought them home in and boy did it stink. I put all of the shells in a bucket with bleach, and then laid them all out to dry. Then I had to do the sniff test to see which one still had the critter in it. Since then, I have had a terrible, metallic taste in my mouth that just won't go away. I've brushed my teeth, gargled, drank a ton of water, eaten, slept and its still there. I'm not on any new medications. I am type 2 diabetic controlled with metformin. My sugar was a little high this afternoon, 166, and then dropped to 81 about 40 mins later. I'm not sure if that's normal for me, since I normally don't check that often, I was just reaching for some kind of explanation. Would the shells, the bleach or the rotting critter cause this?
Answered by Dr. Abubakar Siddiqh 5 hours later
Brief Answer:
seems to be bleach.

Detailed Answer:


I had gone through your question and understand your concerns that you are having metaliic taste after cleaning sea shells.

As per your clinical details, its appears to be hypochlorite, a component of bleach.

Bleach is the best all around cleaning solution for shells. 1 part bleach to 10 parts water is sufficiently strong for most cleaning jobs. In higher concentrations, it is highly irritating and corrosive to the mucosa of nose, tongue and lungs. Fumes from bleach are very potent, as you can tell by the smell, and when inhaled they can cause taste disturbances, exacerbraition of allergies, asthma and chest pain.

Do not worry, metallic taste is a temporary one. You can chew sugar-free gum or mints, stay hydrated with plenty of fluids and avoid further bleach inhalations. In case of persistnece or respiratory difficulty, you need to see a physician or ent surgeon to rule out the depth of chlorine posinoing.

Hope this answers your question, if you have additional questions or follow up questions then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your questions.

Wishing you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Sonia Raina
Follow up: Dr. Abubakar Siddiqh 7 hours later
Its now Thursday morning and the taste is still there. I had a flu shot the day before this started, could that be the cause?
Answered by Dr. Abubakar Siddiqh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Takes time, be patient.

Detailed Answer:

Hello again,

Thanks for considering my answer and for your follow up.

Yes. It is possible. Metallic taste is a rare side effect of flu shot.

Whatever the reason (flu shot or hypochlorite) is a transient phenomenon, takes time to resolve. Kindly follow the instructions, what I have already mentioned.

Hope, I have answered your query.

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj

The User accepted the expert's answer

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