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Medium Risk

Also known as:

Smelling salts

Possible Symptoms
  • Upset stomach with limited nausea and vomiting
  • "Slippery" feeling to exposed skin with minor irritation
  • eye irritation
What to Do
  1. Wipe or rinse out the mouth.
  2. Give a serving size of water to drink.
  3. Rinse any exposed skin with lukewarm water and soap until the “slippery” feel to the skin is gone.
  4. Call 1-800-222-1222 for additional instructions.
If Exposed to Eyes
  1. Start rinsing eye(s) with lukewarm water.
  2. Call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for further recommendations.


If the ammonia product is more concentrated or “industrial strength” start flushing and call the Missouri Poison Center right away for advice.

When ammonia is mixed with another cleaner such as bleach, a toxic gas is released causing burning and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. If this has occurred, ventilate the area by opening windows and turning on fans if possible and move to fresh air immediately. Call the Missouri Poison Center right away for further treatment advice.

Additional Information

Quick Facts about ammonia:

What happens if your child swallows ammonia? We have all the answers for you!

Household ammonia is used as a cleaner on its own, or as an ingredient in window cleaners and floor waxes.  Ammonia is also the ingredient in smelling salts because the sharp, pungent odor irritates the lining of the nose and lungs which triggers the inhalation reflex (breathing in).

If household ammonia is accidentally confused as a beverage, the strong smell of ammonia will typically alert a person before much is actually swallowed.  If a small amount is ingested, expect a bad taste with possible throat and stomach irritation, which may lead to vomiting. Exposure to low level ammonia fumes can cause coughing, runny nose and eye irritation.  Individuals with asthma or other sensitivities may have more significant symptoms after exposure to the fumes.

If you find your child has gotten into ammonia, do not panic.  Take the ammonia away from them, wipe out the mouth with a soft, wet cloth and give them some water or milk to drink.  If problems start or you have questions, call the Missouri Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222.  The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions.

IMPORTANT:  If ammonia is more concentrated or “industrial strength” call the Missouri Poison Center right away for advice.

Take The Missouri Poison Center With You

Emergencies don’t wait for you, so you shouldn’t have to wait to call for help. Get the Missouri Poison Center app with poison information and a link to the Poison Help Line. It is just a click away during the most stressful moments. Our registered nurses and pharmacists are here 24/7/365 days a year to help guide you through poison exposures and overdose emergencies.

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