Activated charcoal (also called Activated carbon) is the more general term which includes carbon material mostly derived from charcoal.
Activated charcoal is used in the emergency treatment of certain kinds of poisoning. It helps prevent the poison from being absorbed from the stomach into the body. Sometimes, several doses of activated charcoal are needed to treat severe poisoning. Ordinarily, this medicine is not effective and should not be used in poisoning if corrosive agents such as alkalis (lye) and strong acids, iron, boric acid, lithium, petroleum products (e.g., cleaning fluid, coal oil, fuel oil, gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner), or alcohols have been swallowed, since it will not prevent these poisons from being absorbed into the body.
Some activated charcoal products contain sorbitol. Sorbitol is a sweetener. It also works as a laxative, for the elimination of the poison from the body.Products that contain sorbitol should be given only under the direct supervision of a doctor because severe diarrhea and vomiting may result.Activated charcoal has not been shown to be effective in relieving diarrhea and intestinal gas.Activated charcoal may be available without a doctor's prescription; however, before using this medicine, call a poison control center, your doctor, or an emergency room for advice.
Activated charcoal is carbon that has been treated with oxygen to open up hundreds of thousands of pores inside of it. Opening up these tiny pores between atoms expands the surface area of the carbon enormously. In fact, in terms of raw surface area, one gram of activated charcoal would be able to cover several football fields if it were rolled flat. The surface are of activated charcoal is only one of the reasons why it is so useful. Carbon is a naturally absorbent element, and it is able to absorb a wide variety of harmful chemicals. The large surface area of activated charcoal allows it to absorb and trap millions of chemicals at its countless bonding sites. There are certain elements that it can’t trap, however. These include sodium and nitrates. So although it is very absorbent, activated charcoal cannot absorb every element out there.
It’s not just the filtering of water that makes activated charcoal so important to us. It is also used in the world of medicine to absorb harmful chemicals and drugs that have been ingested. Activated charcoal comes in a paste and is stocked at virtually every hospital in the world. Because of its extreme absorbent qualities, it can save the lives of people who have ingested drugs or chemicals. The charcoal will absorb 75% of harmful chemicals, and works in both the stomach and the intestines of the patient. It should be noted, however, that activate charcoal cannot be used on those who have absorbed chemicals directly through their skin.
Activated charcoal has a number of valuable uses to people on Earth. It is what you find in water filters across the world. Since it is very absorbent, activated charcoal is able to filter out and absorb chemicals such as chlorine from drinking water. In fact, it is widely used in products that filter and clean tap water into healthier drinking water. It can also be used in countries that lack reliable filtration systems for their water sources. It is especially important for areas of the world that lack clean drinking water. In fact, activated charcoal can be critically to saving lives across the world.Activated charcoal products can be mixed with sorbitol as a laxative, because it reduces the amount of time that it takes to go through the system and that reduces the effects of constipation. Usually activated charcoal is administered in its black liquid form as long as the person is awake and alert. There are other methods that can be used if a patient is unconscious and they are performed by the physician who is assisting the person. In most cases activated charcoal is used under the supervision of a doctor, to insure the dosage fits the individual situation. Activated charcoal works and is very effective in removing toxic chemicals from the body unless a corrosive acid or alkali substance has been swallowed.