What would happen if I drank superglue?
News for do-it-yourselfers
Superglue can be found in almost every household today. The cyanoacrylate-based adhesives bond numerous substances within a very short time - that is simply practical. However, these substances also include human skin, hair, eyes and mouth. This can be done just as quickly as the intended joining of workpieces. There are therefore a number of horror stories circulating about accidental gluing when using superglue. Most of them have a real essence, but you shouldn't let yourself be fooled by them: If you keep calm and react correctly, accidents with superglues are usually far more mild than feared.
The most important basic rule in the event of a mishap: Do not panic and, above all, do not try to use force to separate the affected parts of the body!But what should be done instead? The Adhesives Industry Association gives some helpful tips on this:
Skin sticks to skin
The fingers are often affected here. If you can no longer pull them apart with careful movements, vegetable oil helps - rapeseed oil, corn, olive or sunflower oil, which are found in most households as salad oil. Apply the oil generously to the stuck area and all around and let it take effect. After a while, the adhesive will peel off from the edge. You may need to apply more oil and let it work again.
If no oil is available, soak the sticky skin thoroughly in warm soapy water. Here, too, the epidermis swells up slightly and gradually loses its adhesion to the adhesive. With a thin but blunt object - such as a pair of tweezers - you can then gradually loosen the bond. Soak again if necessary in between.
Danger: Do not try to remove the adhesive with solvents. Acetone, thinner, white spirit and the like have a bad effect on the skin and damage it more than they are actually useful.
Hair sticks to the scalp or to each other
This is primarily a cosmetic problem. The removal of the adhesive can be accelerated if you wash your head and hair normally and then generously apply skin protection oil to the bonded area. The whole thing is left to act overnight, repeat the application if necessary and wait for the superglue to loosen from the scalp.
Adhesions on and in the mouth
If the lips are affected, the advice is particularly not to use force. The skin of the lips is sensitive and would be injured. Instead, you rinse the lips from the outside with plenty of warm water and at the same time push saliva against it from the inside. In most cases, you can then loosen the adhesive with careful movements of the mouth and lips. The residues of the adhesive can then be removed with skin care products containing fat or oil.
If superglue gets into your mouth, there is also no need to panic. Since cyanoacrylate hardens when water is added, and there is plenty of it in the mouth, the glue solidifies immediately and can hardly be swallowed. After a day or two, the saliva loosens the glue from the oral mucosa and can be spat out. Make sure that detached residues do not accidentally get into the airways.
If the eyelids are sticky, you should see an ophthalmologist immediately. Before doing this, rinse the eye as far as possible with warm water and cover it with a moistened compress from the first aid kit. Ophthalmologists have special rinsing solutions with which the stuck areas come off much faster than with home remedies.
If the eyelashes are stuck together, the loosening process can be accelerated with oil. But that must be compatible with the eyes and the mucous membrane. To be on the safe side, have a doctor examine the matter here.
As you can see, in most cases a careful approach helps very reliably. Surgical separation of glued parts of the body is only necessary in very rare cases. Most of the time you can - in the most literal sense - solve the problem yourself.
However, there is one thing you should definitely keep in mind: Superglue does not belong in the hands of children! On the one hand, it is more difficult for children to react in a considered manner, on the other hand, in the heat of the moment, they are quicker to disregard the necessary caution during use. And: As a rule, children do not need superglue. There are a number of harmless adhesives that are easier to use for gluing jobs that children do.
You can find more information about gluing on the website www.klebstoffe.com. Here you can also download a leaflet as a PDF, in which you can read all first aid measures for accidents with superglue in a clearly summarized manner. [Ha]
Photo: Industrial Association of Adhesives
Tags: glue, glue, accident, first aid, safety
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