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Alternative NamesAqueous - ammonia
Definition Return to top
Ammonium hydroxide is a colorless liquid chemical solution that forms when ammonia dissolves in water. This article discusses poisoning due to ammonium hydroxide.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Poisonous Ingredient Return to top
Where Found Return to top
Ammonium hydroxide is found in many industrial products and cleaners such as flooring strippers, brick cleaners, and cements.
Ammonium hydroxide can also release ammonia gas into the air.
Ammonia alone (not ammonium hydroxide) can be found in many household items such as detergents, stain removers, bleaches, and dyes. The symptoms and treatment for ammonia exposure are similar to those for ammonium hydroxide.
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.
Symptoms Return to top
Home Care Return to top
Do NOT make the person throw up.
If ammonium hydroxide is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.
If the person swallowed ammonium hydroxide, immediately give milk or water. Fruit juices may also be given.
If the person breathed in fumes, immediately move the patient to fresh air.
Before Calling Emergency Return to top
Determine the following information:
Poison Control Return to top
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.
See: Poison control center - emergency number
What to Expect at the Emergency Room Return to top
The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
The patient may receive:
Some patients may be admitted to the hospital.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Survival past 48 hours usually indicates recovery will occur. If a chemical burn occurred in the eye, permanent blindness will probably result.
How well a patient does depends on the strength of the chemical and how fast the poison was diluted and neutralized. Extensive damage to the mouth, throat, eyes, lungs, esophagus, nose, and stomach are possible.
The ultimate outcome depends on the extent of this damage. Damage continues to occur to the esophagus and stomach for several weeks after the poison was swallowed, and death may occur as long as a month later.Update Date: 2/3/2009 Updated by: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Eric Perez, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (10/18/2007).