This is What Happens to the Body when Cyanide Poisoning in Food

People who experience cyanide poisoning due to food need to get immediate treatment. This is because this condition can cause seizures, respiratory system failure, and even death due to cyanide poisoning

Cyanide is a chemical that acts quickly and is potentially lethal when it enters the body. Cyanide does not always give off an odor, but sometimes the smell has been described as resembling that of almonds.

Cyanide poison comes in several forms, some are solid, liquid, or gas. There's hydrogen cyanide, there's cyanogen chloride, there's calcium cyanide, and potassium cyanide.

What is Cyanide Used for?

Depending on the type, cyanide is used in many industries, from households to heavy industry. In manufacturing, cyanide is used to make paper, textiles and plastics.

Cyanide is also used as a chemical for photographs. Meanwhile, cyanide salts are used in metallurgy for electroplating, metal cleaning, and removing gold from ore. Meanwhile, cyanide gas is used to destroy pests in ships and buildings.

Cyanide can be found in cigarette smoke, vehicle exhaust, and foods such as spinach, bamboo shoots, almonds, lima beans, fruit seeds and tapioca. Cyanide can also be produced by certain bacteria, fungi and algae.

Impact of Cyanide Poisoning on Food Eaten

People who accidentally eat foods containing cyanide will experience several symptoms, for example:

1. Foaming at the mouth

Cyanide is a chemical compound that is difficult to detect through food. It's hard to smell, other than the faint smell of almonds. People who experience cyanide poisoning through food will usually experience dizziness, seizures, later, foaming at the mouth.

2. Death of body cells

Cyanide is a toxic compound that can cause death to body cells when accidentally ingested. Cyanide poison inhibits the action of the cytochrome-x-oxidase enzyme located in the mitochondria.

This enzyme functions to bind oxygen to meet the needs of cell respiration. Cyanide can inhibit the work of these enzymes. As a result, the body's cells will experience death.

3. Failure of the body system

Cyanide is a poison that can cause many failures in the body's systems. This includes respiratory, cardiac and also central nervous system failure. When cyanide poison enters the body, there are several symptoms that accompany it before it gets worse, including:

  • Weakness and confusion.
  • Headache.
  • Nauseous.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Panting and difficulty breathing.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • seizures
  • Heart failure.

4. It's hard to breathe

People who experience cyanide poisoning may experience vomiting, such as general stomach upset. Then accompanied by diarrhea, then difficulty breathing. This difficulty breathing usually occurs due to pulmonary edema, when the respiratory organs absorb cyanide poison.

5. Death

Cyanide is a fast-acting and potentially lethal chemical. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person poisoned by cyanide will show symptoms in just a matter of minutes.

The symptoms that arise can get worse if more cyanide poison enters the body. The impact can immediately cause death.

Still according to the CDC, exposure to large amounts of cyanide in any way can cause health effects such as:

  • seizures
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Lung injury.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Respiratory failure leading to death.

An explanation of why cyanide poisoning can be so dangerous can be read in This Reasons Cyanide Poisoning Can Be Deadly.

First Aid for Cyanide Poisoning

Can people who experience cyanide poisoning through food be saved? Speed and accuracy are needed in treating people poisoned by cyanide.

The following is the first aid that can be done in cases of cyanide poisoning.

  1. If the victim is conscious, give medical oxygen at maximum velocity through a resuscitation mask.
  2. Remove contaminated clothing and place in a biohazard bag labeled “cyanide contaminated”, until decontaminated
  3. Wash all contaminated skin with plenty of water for at least 20 minutes
  4. If the victim is unconscious, check the airway and clean if necessary using nitrile gloves.
  5. If the victim is not breathing, check the airway and clean if necessary using nitrile gloves.
  6.  Do not use mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-nose resuscitation, as this creates a risk of contamination.
  7. Administer medical oxygen at maximum velocity via resuscitation mask
  8. Begin chest compressions.
  9. Continue the treatment until medical help arrives.

If a person who has been poisoned is treated by a medical professional, the treatment is carried out by giving a cyanide antidote. Such cyanide antidotes include hydroxocobalamin, sodium nitrite, or sodium thiosulfate. Sodium thiosulfate can be given in combination with sodium nitrite or hydroxocobalamin, or it can be given alone. This antidote will be given intravenously or infusion.

Cyanide is a dangerous poison that humans should not be exposed to. Its use is only permitted to eradicate insects, pests, or in heavy industries such as mining and textiles.

There are certain professions that are prone to cyanide poisoning

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