Yesterday I called Payman, yelling in the phone at him, while desperately trying to calm Ada (who is 3 now) and wash her face.
He told me to call poison control, and I got annoyed at him for not answering the question I had and hung up. He made record time home, probably leaving immediately after I hung up.
The question I was asking was, “Which soap did you use to get the spray paint off of your skin last week???”
I was checking the mail with Azita– something she loves to do each day– and Ada was on the patio eating apple slices because it was such a gorgeous day. That made her about 40-50 feet away, I think. Ada starts screaming, I run down the driveway and see her beautiful face covered in black speckles. Around her eyes, on her lips, across her left cheek (where it was most concentrated) and down her arm. The pattern looked perfectly as if she held the spray paint can a few inches from her face and sprayed on her cheek– will all the overspray and splatters getting all over her eye, nose and lips. All the important places.
Payman was spray painting a joystick. A little pet project of his this past few weeks was modding a joystick to have Akuma, a street fighter character, on it. I don’t play video games generally, but it was kind of a cool thing. So he needed the nasty stuff– it bonds to plastic and looks super shiny.
My first thought after worrying if she had blinded herself was that he had major difficulty getting it off of his hands b/c of the nasty type of paint it was.
That was why I called him to ask which soap worked the best, and it was the 7th generation dish soap, by the way. He had tried our Whole Foods liquid and bar soaps first.
She was a trooper for all of it, and her skin was bright red after the scrubbing with a soapy wash cloth. She closed her eyes while I scrubbed and pushed and scraped it off her soft skin. It was so close to her eyes that it was in her eyelashes. She said it didn’t hurt. She said she could see. Her eyes looked clean and she followed my finger when I asked her to look at it. I don’t know if those were telltale or not in this kind of situation, but it was what I could think of.
Next, I took green bentonite clay, known for drawing toxins out of the skin/body, as is my understanding, made a facial mask and rubbed it over the spots with the paint and then her entire body. I put her to soak in the bath and Payman watched her while I called Poison Control.
It never occurred to me, so traumatized I was at seeing it all around her eyes, that if she inhaled it (duh) was the huge, huge issue.
The Poison Control lady was incredibly kind, helpful and thorough.
She looked up the paint name and brand and said it was a really serious situation if Ada had inhaled it. She said if Ada had inhaled it directly, it was an asphyxiant, and we would know in the first minute or two that something was seriously, seriously wrong, as Ada would be unable to breathe.
It seems her natural reflexes to close her eyes and mouth and breathe out probably took over.
Lord have mercy, it never should have happened, but I can see all the reasons why we didn’t see it coming. Payman thought he had one more coat, it’s also been cold and we spend much less time outside. I saw the can and thought “Oh I need to put that away” but it never once occurred to me that she would pick it up and be able to press the button– it hurts an adults finger, right? I didn’t even think she saw it, standing on the edge of the patio. I don’t blame Payman and he doesn’t blame me, and we are going to be even more wary of not letting something like this happen.
So, after it’s off of her, after Poison Control helps us to determine it’s not an emergency and we don’t need to take her anywhere, it’s time to start treating the accident.
I think many people might think the danger is passed now, and the worst most life-threatening part of the danger *is* passed, but there are still things to be done to help her body detox from a chemical exposure.
I only know this from researching chemical sensitivity for myself and being a part of online mailing lists where this stuff gets discussed. It’s not info a doctor or nurse would give you, most likely.
First thing– Vitamin C. I got 2 grams in her last night, but it could be between 5 and 10, really. We are working on another gram right now, and if it had been me I probably would have been twice that. This morning she has had another gram. The only side effect of lots of vitamin C that I’m aware of is loose stools. And if you take high amounts for a very long time you need to taper it down to avoid scurvy symptoms. I’m not the expert, but look up websites like ImmuneWeb and join the mailing list if you need this kind of advice and support.
Second thing– healthy fat. A spoon of nut butter, grassfed meat at dinner, an avocado. Because I what I know Ada will take easily, I gave her 3 doses of omega-3 and omega-9 fish oils made for kids. I am not a doctor. Research other places as well as my personal opinion for your own health. I think I need to say that.
Third thing– another detox bath. The treatment really started when I put the clay mask over where the paint had been. She got another bath. You can add epsom salts and bentonite clay to the bath. I will probably do another all over body clay treatment sometime today. It’s difficult because she isn’t always willing and prefers showers to baths. I think I will plug the drain while she takes a shower and put some salts or clay and at least let her feet and legs soak.
Other antioxidants would probably be helpful, too. For a child this size, the fat, vitamin C and baths are my main goals right now, just because she hates taking things and its work to get all the supplements in her. Thank goodness for chewable vitamin C that can be broken up into “worms” and fed to a “baby bird” piece by piece!
The moral of the story… I take chemical exposures seriously. I don’t believe that the danger is over after the immediate worst is over. We are very lucky, though. I worked for a company for three years where I was repeatedly exposed to paints and solvents with incredibly improper handling and ventilation, and I didn’t realize at the time, but I’ve never been the same since. I was fatigued and headachey for most of those three years, and I knew it was on the days certain chemicals were around but I didn’t realize it would affect me so much after the day was over.
I get headaches when I smell people’s “clean” clothes. If only people would realize that companies pour all those nasty scents in them because they are hiding that fact that the detergent is inferior and the clothes are actually *not* clean. There is a difference between clothes smelling like flowery junk and clothes smelling clean, but we are brainwashed by corporations.
I get headaches when I smell perfume.
I get headaches after smelling cleaning supplies in public bathroom.
I get headaches after smelling soaps.
I think I feel icky after being a park that has been treated with roundup type things and in the summer when my neighbors use it. It’s awful.
I don’t want this for Ada and so I’m treating this experience as something that needs treating even after the worst is over.
What’s funny is, knowing what I do about chemicals, this still happened to Ada. We research and buy clean cleaning supplies, or use Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. We use Biokleen and other safe detergents and etc. We try to limit pesticide residues by eating organic meat and plants. And then we leave a spray paint can out.
Knock on wood, I’d think a physical injury like a burn or cut or even break (cringe at the thought) would be better, in the long run. At least she isn’t exposed to all the other nasty scents and stuff as much a other people. Maybe she’ll be better off after something like this for it.