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Is it possible to find evidence of antifreeze poisoning if…

Is it possible to...

Is it possible to find evidence of antifreeze poisoning if it's been over a long period of time or was a while ago? For example, in a hair analysis.

Doctor's Assistant: Have you been keeping a personal medical record?

Not really. I've been to the ER several times, but didn't think to ask them to run that kind of test on me. I've had a lot of the symptoms over the last few years non and off. Sometimes it seems like it cam on after my husband brought me coffee.

Doctor's Assistant: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?

I had my gallbladder out in 2011. They thought it was that but didn't find any stones and I still had abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting at times since then. Sometimes severe abdominal cramping and pain before the vomiting., Kidney pain, frequent urination, headaches, dizzyness, shortness of breath, fatigue, severe muscle cramps in my legs, bone pain, I think my calcium might have been low in some of my routine tests.

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Answered in 8 minutes by:
3/19/2018
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Physician / Surgeon
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 12,339
Experience: U.S. Surgeon / Neurological Surgery
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Hello -

Unfortunately, it will not be possible to look back that far.

It would certainly be possible to look for evidence of poisoning in the past few hours or days, but any further back than that, there would be no testing that could be done.

It could not be tested with hair analysis.

Have you been evaluated by a gastroenterologist? That is probably the next best step in evaluation given your symptoms.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I went back to a gastroentrologist and told him I was still having right sided pain, but this was before I began getting the other symptoms with the abdominal pain in a different location. Years ago, I was told I have IBS, but this is different. Wouldn't they think I'm crazy if I walked in to a clinic or the ER and asked for an ethlyene glycol test?

Yes, I think walking into the ER and asking for the ethylene glycol test, because the first symptom of someone with that type of poisoning is that they look and talk like they are "drunk" with ethanol.

So by walking right in, you are very unlikely to have ethylene poisoning.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Well, I don't feel that way today. How long would urine glow green under a black light? Do you think after a few days it would? Do you know if it needs to be a wood's lamp or if a regular black light would do the job? I wish I would have thought of this sooner, it crossed my mind before but I was too embarrassed to do anything about it. I was flipping through channels a couple of days ago and a show came on where the wife was poisoning her husband with antifreeze. I said wow. My husband jokingly then asked me if I wanted some coffee.....I've been suspicious before but it really got me thinking even more. Now the antifreeze in the garage has been moved somewhere different than it was before and I don't know where. It's just that at times, I have become violently ill and lethargic out of the blue. I never was a person to be nauseated and vomit before, I never even had morning sickness with my four pregnancies. I've never been this tired and dopey (clumsy, forgetting things, forgetting words etc.) and dysfunctional before as I have been in the last few years.

Well, in the hospital they wouldn't use any black lights or other lights -- they would simply test the blood for methanol, ethylene glycol, and isopropranol (the types of alcohol which can cause poisoning).

You would have had to had this testing done within hours of the poisoning episode as well -- but if you were truly poisoned, you would be very ill at that time.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I have had episodes of being very ill, sometimes too ill to get myself to the hospital. If it happens again, I will probably try to call 911 and ask for those tests. They just deduce it to food poisoning or gastroenteritis usually.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
They didn't even test me for food poisoning last time.

Yes, next time you are ill -- having those tests done at that time will be able to tell you if you have anything abnormal in your blood. The tests obviously should show a level of zero for all of the abnormal alcohols.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Would abnormal urine crystals be automatically seen in a regular urinalysis?

They would have noted it, yes.

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