Friends and the ER

  1. Here's a situation I recently found myself in:

    You go to visit a friend, and when you get there, her roommate has gotten Drysol (aluminum chloride hexahydrate 20%....with ethyl alcohol) in her eye. She had been using the Drysol on a staph-infected area. They were washing the eye out with water. You kept washing it out with water, and called poison control. They said do 10 minutes of washing it out, let it rest for half an hour, and if it still hurts after that, go to the ER (the incident occurred at was at midnight). You followed instructions, and she said it still hurt. She said her pain felt like burning, and that pupil was slightly constricted. You suggest that she go to get it checked out. No urgent cares were open that late, so she went to the ER. They checked it out and said some of the irritation was caused by washing the eye with water...it should have been washed with saline. They also gave her some more antibiotics.

    Was the ER trip a good idea? Should she have waited until morning?

    Why is saline a better choice for eye irrigation?

    (edited for clarification)
    Last edit by LiveZen on Oct 28, '06
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    Saline has fewer contaminants, is purer, is isotonic. However, lay people do not routinely stock their homes with saline. And it would have taken a lot of saline to rinse out an eye, most people who have it would only have a small 1-2 oz bottle.

    Yes, the ER visit was the best choice, No it shouldn't have waited till morning. Eye injuries are considered an emergency because of the potential loss of sight.
  4. by   JBudd
    Saline matches the ph better. Always risky to leave chemicals in the eye, never know when it may burn enough to scar. Why take chances? We always take chemicals or foreign bodies in the eyes seriously in my ED.
  5. by   GeminiTwinRN
    FYI, if you need to make saline at home, 2 teaspoons of salt to a quart of water.

  6. by   LiveZen
    Thanks for your responses. I'm glad I encouraged her to go, and I'm even more glad that she actually went!

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