I. MINERAL ACIDS
Mineral acids have a local chemical action of corroding and destroying
the tissues they come into contact with, and may produce fatal consequences,
if extensive. They have no remote effects on the system.
They act as irritants, when slightly diluted, but as stimulants, when well
diluted and given in the pharmacopceial doses.
General Symptoms. — The symptoms supervene in the act of swallowing
the concentrated acid or immediately after taking it There is intense Jamm-
ing pain in the mouth, throat, oesophagus, extending down to the stomach,
The pain is attended with frothy eructations, retching and vomiting of a
brownish or blackish matter containing blood, mucus and shreds of mucous
membrane. The ejected matter has an intensely acid reaction, stains the
clothes on which it falls, and effervesces when it comes into contact with the
alkaline ground. Sometimes, when the quantity ingested is very large the
whole surface of the stomach becomes corroded. In such a case no vomiting
occurs, as the stomach is unable to expel its contents.
Thirst is intense, but it cannot be appeased owing to great pain and
difficulty in swallowing, and each attempt to drink is followed by renewed
retching and vomiting.
The lips and angles of the mouth are shrivelled and excoriated with a
continuous flow of saliva containing mucus, blood and detached pieces of the
corroded mucous membrane, unless the acid has been poured down into the
back of the throat by means of a spoon or tube. Sometimes, the mucous-
membrane becomes loose, and falls out of the mouth.
The voice becomes hoarse and husky from the inflammation of the
epiglottis and larynx, and articulation becomes painful and difficult. There
is also difficulty in breathing.
The bowels are constipated, though usually there is tenesmus. Rarely,
there may be loose motions containing altered blood, and shreds of mucous
membrane. The urine is scanty or suppressed. There may be difficulty
and pain in micturition.
Trie pupils are frequently dilated, the eyes looking wild and
There is a general condition of collapse. The skin is cold and
and the pulse is slow and feeble, but the mind remains clear till
De'ath occurs within a few hours from shock or from spasm or; cedema
of the glottis, and within twenty-four hours from collapse due to perforation,
of the stomach and peritonitis.
If death does not occur within twenty-four hours, reaction naay .jsepfc j»L .
when the pulse ^becomes full with a rise of temperature. Title process] ^of
separation of tfee sloughs and reparation will follow. Usually death
towards the end of the first week from septic absorpti^ or it maf
after months or years from exhaustion and malnutrition* owi^g ''
resulting from cicatrization and stenosis of the cesophaf^Joir
incurable dyspepsia due to destruction of the coats of Ae,
stomach tube or emetics rnusl
acid should be in^pa^diat^y dSluted and i^titrafeed