Medical Dictionary Search Engines

Please be patient! It may take up to ONE minute to load all the Engines.
Problems? Please contact our support.


Search For


Specialty Search




Other encyclopedia topics: A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9   

Starch ingestion

Alternative names

Poisoning from an ingestion of starch.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Starch

Where Found

  • Starch is found in various cosmetic products
  • Laundry starch is found in various laundry products
  • Cooking starch
Cooking starch and laundry starch are different substances. There are numerous brand names for both. This list may not be all inclusive.


For cooking starch:
  • Gastrointestinal
    • May cause an intestinal obstruction
    • May cause abdominal pain
For laundry starch:
  • Body as a whole
    • Fever
    • Twitching of the facial muscles
    • Twitching of the arms, hands, legs, and/or feet
    • Convulsions
    • Significantly decreased urine output (or none)
    • Collapse
  • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
    • Jaundice (eyes become yellow)
  • Skin
    • Blisters
    • Bluish skin , lips, or fingernails
    • Sloughing of skin
    • Other skin manifestations
    • Yellow skin
  • Gastrointestinal
    • Vomiting- mucous, blood
    • Diarrhea- mucous, blood
  • Heart and blood vessels
    • Low blood pressure
  • Nervous system
    • Drowsiness
    • Coma

Home Treatment

  • If on the skin:
    • Remove by washing the area.
  • If swallowed:
    • Seek emergency medical care immediately.
    • Do not induce vomiting.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following:
  • The patient's age, weight, and condition
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • The time it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

For starch:

  • The patient may not need to be seen in an emergency room.
  • Treat the symptoms.

For laundry starch:

  • For swallowed poison
    • Placement of a tube down the nose and into the stomach (a nasogastric tube, or an NG tube) to wash out the stomach
    • Activated charcoal administration
    • Endoscopy -- the placement of a camera down the throat to see the extent of burns to the esophagus and the stomach.
    • Give IV fluids
    • Admission to the hospital
    • Give an antidote
    • Treat the symptoms
  • For inhaled poisons
    • A breathing tube may need to be inserted
    • Oxygen
    • Admission to the hospital or to the intensive care unit
    • Bronchoscopy (inserting a camera down the throat into the airway to evaluate the extent of burns to the airway and lungs)

Expectations (prognosis)

For cooking starch, recovery is very likely. For laundry starch, poisoning or toxic ingestion is possible. Seek medical care immediately.

Update Date: 4/16/2004

Cherlin Johnson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

©2009 [Privacy Policy] [Disclaimer]
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT