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Exposure to Chlorine Gas

Harold H. Gay, MD
JAMA. 1963;183(9):806-807. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700090126030.
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To the Editor:  —Exposure to chlorine gas will produce varying responses depending upon the severity of exposure. Cases may be classified as follows:

  1. Mild.—Minimal sensation of burning of mucous membranes of nose, mouth, throat, and perhaps of the eyes is present. There may be a slight cough. No treatment is necessary and the symptoms will clear within a few minutes to an hour.

  2. Moderate.—Immediate, severe irritation of the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and eyes is accompanied by a distressing, sometimes paroxysmal, cough. Anxiety is usually present. Except for a few rales, physical examination is otherwise normal. X-ray of the lungs is negative. Treatment consists of having the patient lie down with his head and shoulders elevated. Oxygen should be administered in periods of a few minutes at a time until the cough and anxiety are relieved. A sedative cough syrup is useful. Often a bronchodilator administered by nebulizer


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