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Activated Charcoal

Question:

Please describe your experience with activated charcoal. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: A.T. Raine, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 06

It's a cardinal rule for me now to always have activated charcoal on hand, whether in capsules or at least a derivative product made from it. I strive to be as thoroughly prepared for any situation as I can, especially thanks to one incident in particular. There was a day my friend's back-then-boyfriend had just come home with their roommate after staying out, and after about 15 minutes or so lay down on the couch looking very grey and clammy after apparently taking a lot of pills. I didn't have any powder capsules, but did have a charcoal/peppermint bar of soap as well as the Biore cleanser. I lathered both onto a towel and rubbed it on his face and hands, prolonging contact with the cleanser so charcoal would be absorbed through the skin. After a few tentative minutes color started coming back into his face and to a certain extent so had his alertness. Since then I've always made sure to have activated charcoal around in case of emergency, because beyond the rest of its many household uses (eyeliner, face scrub, teeth whitener, etc.) my friend told me I probably saved his life, which not only do I appreciate being there at the right time, but remembering the takeaway that went with it.

Comment from: Max, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 04

I took activated charcoal capsules after swallowing some water (accidentally) that had been sitting around in our living room for a week or so. Normally my digestive system overreacts to bacteria, etc. The charcoal must have absorbed the impurities in the water because I had no ill effects. I will keep charcoal capsules in the house.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCES:

The National Poison Control Center. "What is Ipecac Syrup?"

The American Academy of Family Physicians. "Updated on the Management of Childhood Poisoning."

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