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Paraquat poisoning

  • Alternative Names

    Paraquat lung


    There is no specific treatment for Paraquat poisoning. The goal is to relieve symptoms and treat complications (supportive care).

    Remove all contaminated clothing.

    If the chemical touched your skin, wash the area with soap and water for 15 minutes, without scrubbing hard, so as not to cause abrasions which will allow greater absorption of the toxin.

    If there has been contamination of the eyes, flush them with water for 15 minutes.

    If you have swallowed Paraquat, you should receive activated charcoal as quickly as possible. Sicker patients may need a procedure called hemoperfusion, which filters the blood through charcoal to try to remove Paraquat from the lungs.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outcome depends on the severity of exposure. Some people may develop mild breathing-related symptoms and have a full recovery, while others may have permanent changes in the lungs. If a person swallowed the poison, death is likely without immediate medical care.

    • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
    • Holes in the esophagus
    • Inflammation of the area between the lungs (mediastinitis)
    • Kidney failure
    • Scarring of the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis)

    Calling your health care provider

    If you believe you have been exposed to Paraquat, you should seek medical care immediately.

    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