Cuticle remover is a liquid or cream used to remove excess tissue around the nails. Cuticle remover poisoning occurs when someone swallows this substance.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
- Potassium hydroxide
- Sodium hydroxide
Note: This list may not include all sources of cuticle remover.
- Various cuticle removers
- Eye pain and redness if product touched the eyes
- Inability to breathe because the throat swells shut
- Rapid drop in blood pressure
- Severe abdominal pain
- Severe pain in the mouth
- Severe pain in the throat
Seek immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by Poison Control or a health care professional.
If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.
If the chemical was swallowed, immediately give the person water or milk, unless instructed otherwise by a health care provider. Do NOT give water or milk if the patient is having symptoms (such as vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness) that make it hard to swallow.
Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:
- Patient's age, weight, and condition
- Name of product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
- Time it was swallowed
- Amount swallowed
Poison Control, or a Local Emergency Number
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What to Expect at the Emergency Room
The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:
- Breathing support, including tube through the mouth and breathing machine (ventilator)
- EKG (heart tracing)
- Chest x-ray
- Fluids through a vein (by IV)
- Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach
- Medication to treat the effects of the poison
- Removal of burned skin (debridement)
- Washing of the skin (irrigation) -- perhaps every few hours for several days
How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance is for recovery.
Extensive damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach are possible from this type of poisoning, but not likely. The outcome depends on the amount of this damage.
Damage can continue to occur to the esophagus and stomach for several weeks after the poison was swallowed.
Wax PM, Young A. Caustics. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 51.
Wax PM, Young A. Caustics. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al., eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2013:chap 153.
Update Date 1/20/2014
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.