What Happens If a Person Inhales the Fumes From Rubbing Alcohol?

Excessive exposure to isopropyl alcohol, also called rubbing alcohol, through inhalation, ingestion or skin contact may result in poisoning, according to MDGuidelines. Symptoms of exposure include headache, nausea, dizziness and vomiting. An individual who has inhaled significant amounts of isopropyl alcohol may also experience irritated skin, eyes, nose or throat.

Isopropyl alcohol, or IPA, poisoning results from failure of the liver to handle the amount of alcohol in the body, explains Healthline. IPA quickly causes intoxication, as the body can manage only small amounts of IPA. Around 30 percent of IPA is usually discharged unchanged through the kidneys, whereas the remaining 70 percent turns into acetone and leaves the body through the lungs or kidneys.

Symptoms of IPA poisoning may occur immediately or may appear hours later, says Healthline. It can lead to confusion and extreme pain. Severe symptoms include difficulty in breathing, coma and severe gastritis.

Treatment of IPA poisoning includes hemodialysis, dialysis, oxygen therapy or fluid replacement, states Healthline. It is essential to provide detailed information about the occurrence of the poisoning to allow doctors to choose the most effective treatment. Individuals who suspect IPA poisoning should not induce vomiting to avoid damaging the esophagus. Immediate medical attention is critical to treat poisoning. It is also important to bring the container to the hospital if the individual knows the source of the poisoning.