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ACUTE EXPOSURE INFORMATION
- Cyanogen iodide is an extremely toxic halogenated cyanide compound that releases highly toxic and irritating fumes of cyanide, iodide and oxides of nitrogen when heated to decomposition. The adverse systemic health effects of cyanogen halides are due to cyanide poisoning; however, at lower concentrations, these agents have more irritant than systemic toxic properties.
- Cyanogen iodide is a strong irritant of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Inhalation of fumes or vapors can produce respiratory tract irritation with possible chemical pneumonitis or noncardiogenic pulmonary edema. Dermal contact results in erythema and possible absorption, which may prove fatal. Eye contact produces redness, blepharospasm and lacrimation. Ingestion, which can be fatal, results in a bitter, acrid, burning taste.
- Exposure to low levels of cyanide systemically may produce nausea, vomiting, palpitations, confusion, hyperventilation, anxiety and vertigo. Severe hypoxic signs in the absence of cyanosis suggest this diagnosis.
- In more severe systemic exposures, initially the patient may experience flushing, tachycardia, palpitations, tightness in the chest, tachypnea, dyspnea, coughing, headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness, confusion, giddiness and dizziness.
- This may progress to agitation, stupor, loss of consciousness, coma, apnea, generalized convulsions (possibly violent), paralysis, pulmonary edema, bradycardia, hypotension and death from respiratory failure.
- Cyanosis is generally a late finding and does not occur until the stage of circulatory collapse and apnea. Patients have survived potentially lethal cyanide exposures with supportive care only, and the absence of a rapidly deteriorating course does not exclude the diagnosis of cyanide poisoning.
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