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What Happens If You Eat Silica Gel?

Issuing time:2021-03-26 14:11

Silica gel is a desiccant, or drying agent, that manufacturers often place in little packets to keep moisture from damaging certain food and commercial products. You may have seen silica packets in everything from beef jerky to the new shoes you bought.

While silica gel is usually nontoxic if ingested, some people have choked on it. For this reason, manufacturers label them “Do not eat.” If a loved one is choking on silica gel, call 911 and seek emergency medical attention.

What happens if you eat it

Unfortunately, children can mistake a packet for food, candy, or a chew toy and eat the silica gel or the entire packet. Sometimes, adults may mistake silica gel packets for salt or sugar packets.

Silica gel is chemically inert. This means it won’t break down in the body and cause poisoning. However, because it won’t break down, the gel or packet and gel can cause choking. That’s why manufacturers often label them with “Do not eat” or “Throw away after using.”

Eating silica gel shouldn’t make you sick. Most often, it’ll pass through your body and exit without any harmful effects to you.

Although silica gel isn’t likely to harm you, this isn’t a license to eat a lot of it. The gel doesn’t have any nutritious value and has the potential to cause intestinal obstruction if eaten in large quantities.

What to do

If you or your child accidentally ingests silica gel, try to help the gel go into the stomach by drinking water.

In rare instances, manufacturers use silica gel that’s coated with cobalt chloride, a toxic compound. If a person ingests cobalt chloride-coated silica gel, it’ll likely cause nausea and vomiting.

Moving forward, you can talk to your child about how the packets aren’t for eating. You can encourage them to bring any packets they see to you to throw away.

You can also throw away any silica packets you come across so your pets and little ones are less likely to find them.

You can also contact your pet’s veterinarian if you suspect they ate one or more silica gel packets. Your vet can give you further advice considering what kind of dog you have and their overall health.