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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Accidental Chlorine Gas Exposure in a Pediatric Patient: A Case Report

  • Author(s): Antolick, Ashley;
  • Ouellette, Lindsey;
  • Judge, Bryan;
  • Riley, Brad;
  • Jones, JS
  • et al.

Introduction: Chlorine gas is a known irritant of the respiratory tract, which may cause damage to various systems depending on time of exposure and concentration of the gas. Current treatments are mainly supportive. While no definitive studies have been completed to date, it has been noted that treatment with a sodium bicarbonate solution via nebulizer may lead to improved outcomes for patients dealing with chlorine gas exposure.

Case Report: We present a case of a nine-year-old child arriving at the emergency department after exposure to chlorine gas. Complete recovery from his symptoms occurred rapidly with the administration of nebulized sodium bicarbonate.

Discussion: Inhaled chlorine gas acts as a mucous membrane irritant, with symptoms usually beginning within minutes of exposure. Inhaled nebulized sodium bicarbonate has been suggested as a therapy for chlorine exposure. Although its mechanism of action is not well understood, it is thought that inhaled sodium bicarbonate neutralizes the hydrochloric acid formed when the chlorine gas reacts with the water in the lungs.

Conclusion: Nebulized sodium bicarbonate solution at a low concentration appeared to rapidly and effectively reverse the symptoms due to chlorine gas inhalation in a young child.

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