DOH issues advisory in case of exposure to ammonia

Published February 5, 2021, 7:53 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Know what to do in case of exposure to ammonia.

In an advisory released Friday, Feb. 5, the DOH said the following first aid measures should be taken in case of unprotected exposure:

– Immediately evacuate the contaminated area and maintain a distance of at least 30 meters or 100 feet.

– Quickly remove any clothing that may have been exposed to ammonia. If possible, cut the clothing to remove from the body and place the clothing inside a plastic bag. It is also recommended to properly dispose of said clothing to prevent additional exposure.

– In case of contact with eyes or skin, wash the exposed area with large amounts of water for at least 15 minutes.

– Evaluate breathing of the individual exposed. In case of breathing difficulty, administer supplemental oxygen or artificial respiration when necessary.

The DOH also urged exposed individuals to immediately proceed to a hospital after performing first aid for proper evaluation and management.

According to the Health department, prolonged exposure to ammonia may cause lung damage, bronchitis, pneumonia, asphyxiation or oxygen deficiency, or death.

The DOH said ammonia, which is generally used in agriculture, mining, refrigeration and other industrial purposes, may enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, or skin or eye contact.

The Health department said people who have unprotected exposure to ammonia may experience the following symptoms:skin, eyes, nose or throat irritation; burning sensation, tearing, or redness of the eyes; blurred vision; difficulty in breathing; coughing; wheezing; abdominal pain; altered mental state; cyanosis or bluish discoloration on hands or feet; dizziness, nausea or vomiting; drowsiness; and chest pain. 

The DOH released the advisory following the recent occurrences of ammonia leaks in Navotas City and Batangas.