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Inhaled Battery Fumes
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Inhaled Battery Fumes

Yesterday my husband was at work and had to try and get several old cars with old batteries started and he had to sit inside the cars to try and start he stated that the fumes from the batteries has now made him sick and he feels like he has been poisoned.
Can this be true and if so what can I do to make him feel better?

He is very tired and he stated he keeps having a horrible taste in his mouth and he feels disoriented.  
Thank you,      
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

When batteries get wet or damp, sulfuric acid may be present in the air as small droplets or attached to other small airborne particulates (for example, dust). Sulfuric acid is extremely irritating to skin, mucous membranes (eyes, inside of the nose, throat), and to the upper airway (trachea) and to the lungs. If your husband  inhaled either droplets or particulates with droplets attached, he could potentially experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, and sore throat.

Inhalation of sulfuric acid droplets can cause a chemical pneumonitis (inflammation in the lungs). In addition, the sulfuric acid is irritating to the gastrointestinal tract and could cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

Lastly, where can you get information on this problem?

You can perform a google search and use “battery acid fumes” and “MSDS” as search terms. MSDS = Material Safety Data Sheet.

Here is a link as well:
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts117.html

Early evaluation, treatment, and management of symptoms may be important in minimizing any potential long-term consequences.

Was your husband working in a garage with the doors closed? If a garage is not ventilated, carbon monoxide can build up and cause symptoms such as confusion.

~ Dr. Parks

This answer provided to you is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this Medhelp.org posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Philip D Parks, MD, MPH, MOccH, F...Blank
Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School
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