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February 1990

Ingestion of Aromatic Ammonia 'Smelling Salts' Capsules

Author Affiliations

Emergency Department Children's Hospital Medical Center Department of Pediatrics University of Cincinnati College of Medicine 3350 Elland Ave Cincinnati, OH 45229

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(2):139-140. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150260017009

Sir.—We recently cared for three children who had bitten into capsules of aromatic ammonia "smelling salts." Each glass capsule, enclosed in a fiber mesh (Fig 1), contained 0.33 mL of a mixture of 18% ammonia and 36% alcohol. The ammonia capsules are usually available as part of home first-aid kits.

Patient Reports.—Patient 1.—A 3½-year-old girl bit into a capsule of aromatic ammonia. She denied having swallowed any of its contents. She drank some water afterward without problem, but by the time she was evaluated in the emergency department about 1 hour later, she complained of oral pain on swallowing. Her tongue was red anteriorly with occasional blisters.

patient 2.—A 3-year-old girl presented to the emergency department about 1 hour after she bit into a vial of aromatic ammonia. She was drooling and had erythema and swelling of the lower lip and a superficial denuded burn of the

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